Arsla Jawaid talks to Fawzia Koofi, the woman who could be Afghanistan’s first fe­male pres­i­dent, in this ex­clu­sive in­ter­view . A democ­racy ac­tivist, Fawzia Koofi is Afghanistan’s first fe­male deputy speaker of the Par­lia­ment. Au­thor of the re­cent book, “

Southasia - - Interview -

Can you tell me a lit­tle bit about your back­ground and why you de­cided to go into pol­i­tics?

I was born in a po­lit­i­cal fam­ily. My fa­ther was a very out­spo­ken Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment dur­ing King Shah’s rule and was elected to the par­lia­ment four times. He was killed and later my four broth­ers were also killed. Grow­ing up in a fam­ily that paid a high price for be­ing in pol­i­tics, I au­to­mat­i­cally chose to en­ter the field. More than that, the ex­pe­ri­ences, in­jus­tice and dis­crim­i­na­tion faced by Afghan women, dur­ing dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ments and par­tic­u­larly dur­ing Tal­iban time, gave me the de­ter­mi­na­tion and rea­son to fight for change. That is why I de­cided to en­ter pol­i­tics in 2005 when there was the first ever par­lia­ment af­ter 30 years of war and con­flict. Can you shed some light on the work you have done as the first fe­male deputy speaker of the Afghan par­lia­ment and a twice elected Afghan MP?

Yes, this is my sec­ond term. When I first came in 2005, I was elected as the first ever fe­male deputy speaker of the Afghan par­lia­ment. The chal­lenges for a fe­male politi­cian all over the world are in­sur­mount­able. Be­ing in a tra­di­tional coun­try like Afghanistan where women were not seen in pol­i­tics be­fore, the chal­lenges are even greater. You have to start changes from the very ba­sic. My fo­cus has been to fur­ther women’s ed­u­ca­tion, health and job cre­ation and in­tro­duce changes and re­forms in the sys­tem. As a re­sult, we are cur­rently work­ing on a law ad­dress­ing vi­o­lence against women. In many ways, we have made some good progress. At the end of the day, you have to pave the way for oth­ers. It is ob­vi­ously very dif­fi­cult for a woman to en­ter pol­i­tics in Afghanistan. Do you think the peo­ple of Afghanistan are ready for a fe­male head of state?

I ran for par­lia­ment twice and in both terms I se­cured enough votes based on gen­eral vot­ing. I think this in it­self is very promis­ing. I come from a ru­ral area and to com­pete with men re­quires some strong will power. Last

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.