70-year-old had campaigned on pro-women platform in last year’s general elections.
Gulana Bibi, the 70-year-old widow who contested last year’s general elections from the militancy-afflicted Tank district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, died on Friday.
“She died of cardiac arrest,” her son, Khar Zar, told Newsweek.
The mother of four sons, Gulana Bibi hailed from Dera, a small town bordering South Waziristan. She decided to enter politics in a region that remains starkly conservative, with most women confined to their houses. At the time, Dera was beset by militant violence, preventing politicians from campaigning in the area. Despite the threats, however, Gulana Bibi did not hesitate to raise her voice for the oppressed.
“I am sincere with my cause, so I don’t have any fear,” she told Newsweek at the time. Contesting on a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) ticket, she campaigned on a platform focused on women’s rights, better educational facilities, and clean drinking water. “My mother was committed to her mission of fighting for women rights,” recalled her son after her death.
Due to lack of funds, Gulana Bibi was unable to organize any rallies and instead had to opt for a door-to-door campaign to seek voters. This, among others, is often cited as a reason for her failing to secure more than 37 votes in the general elections. The seat went to Mahmood Ahmad Khan of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl.