S:     It is ridiculous that the ANP (along with the Jamat-e-Islami) refused women the right to vote in the Lower Dir elections. For a party that claims to be secular and progressive, it is a farce.

A:     Local politics have many different dimensions attached to themselves and the Pakistani political equation is different from Western conceptions of secular and progressive. They must have had their reasons.

S:     No but it goes against the very basic rationale. This act should be condemned throughout the media.

A:     It’s not the first time this is happening. Such settlements are very common in tribal areas especially. You might feel depressed about it happening but it doesn’t come as a shock to me.

S:     I could expect it from the Jamaat but ANP? The front runners in the battle against terrorism, I fail to understand how they could be so two faced. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s ideology about the empowerment of women, doesn’t it stand brazenly negated? The ANP has even been led by a woman, Begum Naseem Wali Khan, in in the past.

A:     You can quote all the history to me but the fact remains that pragmatism won over ideological politics. You might consider it a sham but I think you need to dig deep into the Pakistani social and political structure to understand why this is happening.

S:     This is bigotry! I’m outraged.

A:     I wish everybody felt like you. But they don’t. Apathy towards genuine politics is at a major high these days. And it has a historical basis.