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Tale of Ayesha Gulalai, a woman politician, harassed and threatened in Pakistan

Lahore (Pakistan): Ayesha Gulalai, a woman Member of Pakistan’s National Assembly is being harassed and threatened by lawmakers in Pakistan to resign from her seat after she accused Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan of sending her lewd text messages.

Gulalai speech was interrupted in the National Assembly by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers who raised slogans “stranger in the house” with deafening desk-thumping.

Former PTI leader Gulalai made a speech on a point of order and received applause mainly from the PPP and the PML-N women lawmakers at the end of her speech.

Claiming that she and her family members had been receiving threats, Gulalai said “I was threatened of acid attacks we need to follow manners and avoid politics of revenge.”

Gulalai claimed that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is trying to intimidate her family but she had given voice to ‘exploited women who were afraid to speak’.

She said that her sister Maria Toorpakai who is a national squash player was also targeted by the PTI members.

Gulalai, soon after entering the house, kept raising her hand to take the floor to speak on a point of order.

Speaking in an emotional tone, Gulalai emphasized that no issue was of greater importance than that of honour of women.

“I, being a woman MNA, performed my duty to raise voice of the people, and I am proud to stand for honour. Character is lost than everything is lost as Character is more important than everything else,” The Nation quoted Gulalai as saying.

The house also saw a brief verbal brawl among women lawmakers from the PTI and the PML-N before and after Gulalai’s speech.

She alleged that the PTI leaders distributed reserved seats for women among their relatives.

Gulalai also thanked PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Jamaat-i-Islami for supporting her on the issue.

The MNAs from the opposition and treasury benches, due to uproar in the house, were seen listening to her speech using headphones.

Who is Ayesha Gulalai?

Ayesha Gulalai, who hails from Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region, was a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on a reserved seat for women.

She had joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 2012 and was nominated as a member of the PTI central committee. But she resigned on Aug 1 from the PTI alleging Imran Khan of sending ‘obscene text messages’ to her.

Having a Master’s degree from the University of Peshawar, Ayesha began her political career as a human rights activist from South Waziristan.

She was a worker of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (P PPP) as coordinator in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

She also has been a member of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML).

Gulalai was elected to the National Assembly on a reserved seat for women from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), and has been a staunch and vocal supporter of the PTI and Khan.

What are her allegations?

Gulalai said that Khan initially used to send her “inappropriate and indecent” messages, but later talked about a marriage proposal before her father intervened in the matter.

She said that Khan did not propose to her directly, but “talked about it in a veiled manner in his text messages.”

Gulalai claimed, “He (Imran) proposed to me before his wedding with Reham Khan and after he parted ways with Reham, in July he again tried indirectly to contact me”. “I spoke out for the sake of Pakistani women. I did not do anything wrong,” she said, defending her decision to go public with the matter.

She also levelled charges of corruption against PTI government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and its chief minister Pervez Khattak who she alleged was acting like “mafia boss”.

Why Ayesha Gulalai left PTI?

On August 1, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ayesha Gulalai announced her exit from the party citing ‘ill-treatment’ of women in the party as the reason behind her decision, saying she had communicated her grievances to the party leadership but no action had been taken.

Gulalai alleged the party chief Imran Khan for sending her unsolicited text messages and had alleged ill-treatment of women in the party.

Before that, acting against Gulalai, PTI suspended her party membership and sent a legal notice to her after her allegations against Imran Khan.

What PTI chief Imran Khan Says?

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has firmly rejected the notion of being complacent or involved in any immoral role, regarding disgruntled Ayesha Gulalai’s accusations.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said that Gulalai had “sold her soul to Pakistan Muslim League ( PML-N) for money”. “It is an old tactic of PML (N) that they buy people and she (Gulalai) has sold her. She has been used and would be forgotten in 24 hours,” he said.

On August 6, Imran accused “Sharifs were behind the campiagn to tarnish his reputation.” He said that Gulalai had come to Bani Gala a day before she held a press conference (Sunday) and had asked for the NA-1 ticket. “I reprimanded her for her poor performance in the National Assembly and absence in the party meetings,” he maintained.

Nawaz Sharif’s angle (Panama issue)

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court on 28 July in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case.

Since Ayesha made her allegations against Imran Khan two days after the final verdict on Panama gate scandal, it is being alleged that she did it at the behest of Nawaz Sharif.

Nawaz Sharif and his family were convicted by the apex court of Pakistan on the corruption case moved by Imran Khan.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has called for the formation of a special committee to investigate the allegations of harassment levelled against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan by MNA Ayesha Gulalai. (ANI)