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In a first, ‘Women’s Rule’ in Punjab with Maryam in the lead role

By Hassan Ahmed  

Punjab will be ruled by women for the first time, with women holding three of the province’s most prized offices.  

The International Women’s Day (IWD) is being marked today, March 8, and Punjab has excellent news: three women are in the power corridors.  

On February 26, Maryam Nawaz, the political scion of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, became Punjab’s first chief minister. 

Soon after taking over the province, Maryam introduced two more women into her staff and assigned them significant tasks in Punjab.  

Marriyum Aurangzeb was appointed senior minister in Punjab, while Azma Bokhari was given the difficult role of communication minister.  

In Punjab, three ‘powerful’ women will now hold the positions of chief minister, senior minister, and minister of communication.  

Also read: Maryam Nawaz supports for female chief ministers in all provinces.  

There is also a ‘Women’s Rule‘ in Punjab under the new setup.  

Maryam Nawaz  

Maryam Nawaz rose to prominence when her father was removed from the prime minister’s post in 2017 due to elder Sharif’s disqualification in the Panama Papers.  

She spoke in massive protests across Punjab demanding her father’s release from prison during Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf government.  

She was renowned as the ‘crowd-puller’ in the PML-N and rose to the position of main organiser and senior vice president.  

Maryam oversaw the PML-N’s election campaign, and she and her father ran for seats in both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly.  

She won both Lahore seats but chose to resign from the National Assembly in order to become Punjab’s first chief minister. 

“I want to see women chief ministers in other provinces as well,” Maryam Nawaz remarked during an International Women’s Day event in Lahore on Friday.  

Read more: Let us honor the women who have made Pakistan proud.  

“Women’s harassment is my red line,” Punjab’s first female chief minister declared. 

Marriyum Aurangzeb  

Marriyum Aurangzeb would be the first senior minister in Punjab, holding numerous significant positions.  

She first became an MNA on a reserved seat in 2013 and began working for the PML-N’s social media team.  

Marriyum Aurangzeb rose to prominence when Pervaiz Rasheed was fired as information minister in 2016 over the ‘Dawn Leaks‘.  

Marriyum effectively filled the void and has never looked back since.  

After Pervaiz Rasheed’s departure, she became the information minister and vociferously defended her party and government on television.  

She was appointed PML-N spokesman in 2018.  

Marriyum Aurangzeb was elected MNA again in 2018 on a reserved seat, and this time she demonstrated her ability from the opposition benches. 

She was appointed information minister again in 2022, when Shehbaz Sharif became prime minister for the first time, and she served till the end of his term.  

In 2024, her name appeared on both lists of reserved seats (National Assembly and Punjab Assembly), but she chose to stay in Punjab to assist Maryam Nawaz, a new entrance into parliamentary and government issues. 

More to Read: 12 women win NA seats by defying odds  

Many observers believe Nawaz Sharif has assigned Marriyum Aurangzeb as Maryam Nawaz’s personal security officer in Punjab.  

Marriyum Aurangzeb, a Kings College London graduate, has been assigned numerous crucial ministries in Maryam Nawaz’s government and has the status of senior minister.  

Her duties will include Planning and Development, Special Initiatives, Environment, and Forestry

Azma Bokhari.  

She will be in charge of the Punjab government’s media relations after being appointed information minister. 

Azma Bokhari, a lawyer by profession, was first elected as MPA in 2002 on a PPP reserved seat. In 2008, she was re-elected MPA on a reserved seat on the PPP platform.  

Azma joined the PML-N in 2013, and this is her seventh straight term as MPA.  

She also served as the Punjab Assembly’s legislative secretary for Information and Culture from 2017 to 2018.  

Her husband, Samiullah Khan, is also a seasoned legislator who was elected MPA for the third time from Lahore.  

Azma Bokhari has forcefully presented her party’s point of view on television screens for the past five years, and she is currently the PML-N’s provincial communication secretary.  

Azma has been a vocal opponent of the PTI’s two past chief ministers, Usman Buzdar and Ch Parvez Elahi, over the last five years.  

Read more: 18-member Punjab cabinet takes oath.  

Women aged 15 to 25 have a literacy rate of 65 percent, while their employment rate is only 20.65 percent in Pakistan.  

It is hoped that many ambitious women will enter politics after seeing the new Punjab system, in which women will rule for the next five years. 

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