Home Latest News Maryam Nawaz Becomes First Woman C.M. of Pakistan

Maryam Nawaz Becomes First Woman C.M. of Pakistan

PMLN leader elected Leader of the House in Punjab Assembly amidst boycott of Sunni Ittehad Council from process

by Staff Report

Screengrab of Punjab C.M. Maryam Nawaz’s first speech as Leader of the House

Maryam Nawaz, the chief organizer of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), was on Monday elected the chief minister of Punjab, the first woman in Pakistan’s history elected the Leader of the House in a provincial assembly.

Maryam secured 220 votes in the 397-member house, while her opponent, Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC)’s nominated candidate Rana Aftab Ahmed secured 0 zero votes amidst a boycott of the proceedings. As the session commenced, Speaker Malik Ahmed Khan announced that under law, no debates or regular business could be conducted until after the election were conducted. When Ahmed attempted to raise a point-of-order, Khan rejected his request, saying he could say his piece only after the election.

At this, the SIC—comprised primarily of lawmakers affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf—staged a walkout of the proceedings. Initially, the speaker attempted to convince them to return by appointing a four-member committee to negotiate their return. But when they refused to return without being allowed a chance to speak, he announced that the session would proceed without them and the House proceeded to vote for the Chief Minister of Punjab.

After securing her win, Khan congratulated Maryam on her win and invited her to take the seat of the Leader of the House and address the gather as the chief minister. In her speech, Maryam regretted that the opposition had boycotted the session, saying she would have been happy to see them raise a ruckus as that was part of parliamentary democracy. “I want to assure them [opposition] that I am the C.M. of everyone who voted for me and also the C.M. of everyone who did not vote for me,” she said, stressing that she had no interest in politics of revenge and would work for everyone in the province, whether or not they voted for her.

Thanking her father, PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif, as well as PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif and all MPAs of the party, she also offered gratitude to lawmakers of the PPP, IPP, PMLZ, PMLQ for supporting her. “I am just as much your C.M. as I am the PMLN’s,” she said, hoping she could work with everyone as a “dream team” for the welfare of the people.

Continuing her thanks, she expressed gratitude to the people of Punjab, stressing the honor of becoming the first woman C.M. of Pakistan was not just hers, but also that of every Pakistani daughter, sister and mother. “I pray this will continue after me and another woman will take this seat in future,” she added.

Acknowledging that she had a significant legacy to contend with, she recalled that both her father and her uncle had served as chief minister of Punjab, noting Nawaz had helped her chalk out a five-year plan. “My contest is not with any opponents, but with giants sitting in my own party,” she said. “I must not only protect their legacy, but also take it forward,” she said, adding that she was the representative of all people of Punjab across political divides.

Noting that five years was not a lot of time to achieve all she aimed, she vowed that she would commence her work immediately after her oath-taking and proceed toward achieving the promises of the PMLN’s manifesto.

Vowing “zero tolerance” for corruption, she said her government would evolve a transparent mechanism to check pilferage and introduce helplines to remain in touch with the public and address all concerns on priority. Maryam also announced a Ramzan Relief Package, saying it would deliver rations to the most impoverished at their doorstep to avoid them having to queue up in the heat. Similarly, she said, Sasta Bazaars would be established and price control committees revived to ensure the public did not have to spend a single rupee more than required.

Noting a lack of adequate data, she said households earning salaries of less than 60,000 required government support, adding she had directed the chief secretary to conduct a complete provincial survey within 3 months to acquire information of how many people required aid. Maryam also announced various youth initiatives, including scholarships, a fee reimbursement scheme, internship programs, and better education standards. She said she aimed to develop a Punjab School Transport System to help students reach their schools, adding her government would also work on curriculum development to improve the standard of government schools.

The chief minister said she would prioritize the health sector, reviving the health card to facilitate the most impoverished. She said she hoped to build state-of-art hospitals in every district of the province, adding that from today (Monday), emergency departments in all government hospitals would provide free medicines. Maryam also announced initiatives to improve the province’s sports initiatives; establish a “Digital Punjab” with at least 5 I.T. Cities; safe city projects in 18 cities. She said she also had plans to tackle climate change, curtail smog and improve the environment, adding she would also work on plans to facilitate overseas Pakistanis facing issues pertaining to property transfer or similar concerns.

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