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  • Results 1 to 4 of 4
    1. #1


      Join Date
      May 20, 2002
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      A nice article, just shows that PTI is genuinely seeking to bring change in the country through engaging motivated social activists etc.

      Chic politique

      Doordana Soomro
      talks to NA-aspirant Ayesha Tiwana about why she decided to take the plunge


      A few years ago in Lahore, I met a woman at a dinner party, a former member of the National Assembly. Frankly I could only imagine her lolling about on a divan chewing paan. “Why did you go into politics?” I asked her. Her answer was honest: “What else could I do? I wasn’t qualified for anything!”

      The woman I interviewed recently is of a different breed. Highly qualified, articulate, motivated, energetic – she is just the kind of person we need in Parliament. Recently returned to Karachi from New York, Tammy, or Ayesha Tiwana as she should be called, is standing for the National Assembly on a reserved seat from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. While others were scrounging around for one degree, she has three – an LLB from the University of Kent, Bar-at-Law from Gray’s Inn, and LLM from the London School of Economics. She has worked for some of the top law firms in the world, including Shearman and Stirling in New York, Chadbourne, Parke and Afridi in Dubai, and Orr Dignam and Co. in Pakistan. While in Manila with her husband Omar Tiwana (the two are now separated), she worked for the largest law firm in South East Asia. Her forte is power plants and project financing and she brings with her years of legal experience.

      So why politics, I ask her as we sit in a small sunny room with her three dogs stretched out at her feet. There are the two beagles – Cedric and Camilla and the terrier Defer (‘D’ fer dog), who has just had his hair shaved for a hernia operation. Tammy calls them her babies and shows me the picture she carries around in her wallet of her with them.

      “I’ve been involved in social work for practically my whole life. I worked with the LRBT, Kidney Centre, Sindh Institute of Urology, and I thought to myself, social work is great, it has to be done, but it doesn’t change anything. The only way you can change things is by changing the system and that can only be done through the political process. So I decided to go into politics and with 60 seats reserved for women, it looked like this was a good opportunity, maybe the only opportunity.”

      Tammy was immediately approached by the Tehreek-i-Insaf. She had known Imran Khan since she was a child. Her father, Munawarul Haq was President of the Karachi Cricket Association in the 70s and is a life member of the Board of Control for Cricket, so Imran has been in and out of their house.

      I am still surprised that she chose the PTI, given Imran’s comments about women and his attacks on “brown sahibs”. She admits that at first she wasn’t too comfortable; she did not consider the TI to be a progressive party. But she thinks they have come a long way since then. “I asked him specifically about the Hudood Ordinance and he said, ‘We oppose any law that is discriminatory.’ It is very hard to repeal anything like the Hudood Ordinance. But if you oppose it in principle then you can start working towards it, right?”

      Suddenly she gets up and rushes towards Cedric with a tissue in her hand. There is a black speck on his head, a tick. Plucking it off deftly, she hands it to the servant who has come in with the tea.

      “One of the things I believe in,” she says, resuming her seat, “is that you should only fight the fights you can win. If you can’t win something, don’t fight it because you will do more damage. So educate your people and you will change the way they think.” She is still talking about the Hudood Ordinance, but I can’t resist asking her cheekily that if this is her motto – to only fight the fights you can win – why then did she choose PTI? What are the chances of them winning the seats that would ensure her getting in? She is their number one candidate, but PTI has to win at least three NA seats from Sindh for her to get in.

      “Originally it was 5 percent of the votes. But they changed it to keep some of the major parties out. If it had been 5 percent of the vote, I was cruising in happily. It’s now 5 precent of the seats, so I don’t know. When I did the Maths, I wept,” she adds in mock anguish.

      Tammy’s decision to join the PTI was not for lack of choices. She had received two or three other offers as well. “Whereas I think the Peoples Party is a major party, I couldn’t go with them, because I felt there was a real problem in terms of accountability. The ideology of the other parties did not appeal to me at all.”

      She read the PTI manifesto and their constitution and only had one or two issues which she has already discussed with them. One of these is that you cannot separate the role of women in political parties from the role of men. “You can’t have women’s wings,” she insists. “You must have women in the mainstream. They should be part of your central executive committee, not as a token, but in their capacity as member of the party and on merit. Once you mainstream women, you automatically start appealing to more women.”

      Did she not think of standing for direct election? “I did, but I haven’t lived in Pakistan for seven years and I don’t have a constituency. I don’t have the kind of funds that you need for a direct election. But what I feel about the reserved seats is that this is an opportunity for sixty women to get into the Assembly and then stand on a general seat for the next election. We have huge problems in the country and we know what they are. We just don’t do anything about them. So I think if you start working on issues and problems and you start resolving them, that’s how you build your base. I think women need to not just sit in Parliament and look good, they need to be ready to do something.”

      I ask her if she is making a long-term commitment to the country. “Totally,” she says. Whether she gets into the Assembly this time or not, she intends to stay in the political process. “I want to build a constituency. So I do have a plan, I have an idea about where to get my resources, both monetary and otherwise. I’ve kept my nose above water. I’ve paid my taxes, I really don’t need anything. I pretty much have everything one could want in life. This is payback time for me.”

      But isn’t politics going to cramp her style? “I was very up front. When I was deciding to join, I said to Imran, ‘I’m going to be the one with the red lipstick in the Assembly! I don’t believe in covering my head for the sake of it. I’m not going to suddenly become this holy little creature. I am who I am and my contribution is not going to be enhanced by my appearance. Imran said, ‘That’s great. You should be yourself. We just want smart, educated people to come in. We want to make a contribution to society, we want to change things.’”
      "When one bright intellect meets another bright intellect, the light increases and the Way becomes clear." - Rumi

    2. #2
      GUPSHUP Greatness

      Join Date
      Feb 17, 2002
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      Wasn't Imran's party was facing critical economic crisis?

    3. #3


      Join Date
      Aug 1, 2002
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      i Personally know of Tammy and I can vouch for her credibility..big thumb for educated people who are daring to change the political scene of Pakistan..

    4. #4
      GUPSHUP Greatness

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      Feb 17, 2002
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      Originally posted by aries:
      i Personally know of Tammy and I can vouch for her credibility..big thumb for educated people who are daring to change the political scene of Pakistan..
      Imran won

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