Fauzia Wahab was a friend, colleague, a jolly fellow and seasoned politician. She was always a source of inspiration for me. She made her mark by actively participating in national politics. She was a brilliant, bold and blunt politician within the PPP. She was a member of National Assembly from Sindh, who returned on a reserved seat for women after the February 18, 2008 general elections. She was appointed as the new central Information Secretary of the party in place of Sherry Rehman on March 18, 2009, by Co-Chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari.

Wahab was born on November 14, 1956 as the eldest of four children. In 1978 she married Wahab Siddiqui, a journalist and who later became an anchorperson. For the next fourteen years, she was a housewife and had four children. She acted in Haseena Mom’s drama serial Kohar as the cousin of the hero played by the model, Junaid Butt. The drama aired in 1991 and 1992 and was directed by M Zaheer Khan. She would consider it as her “favorite mistake”. In February 1993, her husband died of a heart attack and that was when her life took a new turn. She married cardiologist Athar Hussein in 1998.

Meanwhile she worked for the Pakistan Industrial and Commercial Leasing as a Marketing Manager between 1993 and 1996. She was nominated as Member Advisory Council of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) in October 1994. Initially she was given charge of the Municipal Ward 59. She was also nominated as Chairman of the Information Committee of KMC. Prime Minister Shaheed Benazir Bhutto nominated her to become the Information Secretary of the women’s wing of the PPP in Sindh, a position she held until early 2002. After the dissolution of the PPP government in November 1996, general elections were held in February 1997 in which she was nominated to contest the elections on NA-193, as a PPP candidate.

In 1998, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto nominated Wahab to become the Central Coordinator of the Human Rights Cell with responsibility for corresponding with human rights organisations abroad. During the incarceration period of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, she wrote on various pressure tactics of the National Accountability Bureau and various agencies against the couple as well as party leaders and workers. I personally learnt a lot from her during those years.

When the Pakistani general election 2002 were called in October, she was nominated as a candidate for the reserved seats for women in the National Assembly. She took oath as a legislator and was also made part of the Standing Committee on Privatisation and the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs. She was also a senior member of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly that looked after the Assembly’s budget. During these years, we worked together and I was inspired by her courage and wisdom. Fauzia also represented her party on various international forums. During the National Assembly of 2002 and 2007, she was an active member of the opposition involved in a number of questions, calling attention notices, adjournment motions, resolutions and motions. She was also a mover of a number of bills including a bill on the environment and a ban on polythene bags. She was a source of personal inspiration during those crucial years. She was nominated again for a second term by the PPP and returned to the National Assembly. She took oath as a Treasury bench member on March 6, 2008.

By virtue of being the Information Secretary, Fauzia became an ex-officio member of the Central Executive Committee of the party and took firm stance on various issues. In her second term as MNA, she was elected as Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on Finance and Revenue. This committee was the second most active parliamentary committee after the Public Accounts Committee in the number of meetings held. She faced criticism very politely and never compromised on principles.

She created a minor media controversy with her comments on Raymond Davis, a US citizen convicted of killing two men landed her in trouble but she managed things amicably.

Wahab was admitted to a local hospital for a gall bladder surgery on May 24, 2012. Her condition due to post operative complications worsened and she was moved to the ICU and had two subsequent surgeries. She died on Sunday, June 17, 2012. The Pakistan Peoples Party announced ten days of mourning for her death. Most Pakistani politicians expressed grief, including President Asif Ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani. Her funeral prayer was organised after Zuhr prayers at Sultan Masjid, Defence area of Karachi. May Her soul rest in peace. She was a great and loving worker and leader. We pay homage to her.

    The writer is a member of National             Assembly.