PESHAWAR: “World came to an end for me after my husband was martyred in a terrorist attack and it was difficult for me to console my self, but the family and party requested me to land in the field of politics. I tackled all that challenges with the Grace of Almighty Allah,” says Samar Bilour, widow of ANP leader Haroon Bilour who was assassinated along with 25 other party activists 11 days before the general elections of 2018.
Samar Bilour was given the responsibility by the ANP and her family to contest on the election seat from her late husband’s constituency and she won the election after a tough contest with the ruling PTI candidate. In the process, she became the only woman in KP to win a direct election on a provincial assembly seat in the last 16 years.
Samar Bilour said while talking to TNN that she saw an opportunity to forward the mission of her late husband after gaining success in the election, but this journey was not too easy. She said she decided to join politics to keep the family legacy of politics and serving the masses alive.
“After Haroon Bilour’s death, the party activists were very dejected and disappointed and it seemed they had lost faith in the system. Then I decided to come forward to give a new hope to the followers of the ANP ideology,” she said.
Samar Bilour said whatever she and her family has lost will never return, but the family will continue its struggle for the rights of people.
41-year old Samar Bilour got her initial education from Karachi. Her father Irfanullah Marwat was the first Pakhtun MPA from Sindh Assembly. She is the grand-daughter of former president of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan. She has completed Master’s in English Literature and she has two sons. She used to take part in party activities, but never contested elections before the death of her husband.
Bilour family is known as the family of martyrs as Bashir Ahmed Bilour, father of Shaheed Haroon Bilour and father-in-law of Samar Bilour, was also martyred in a terrorist attack in Peshawar.
Samar Bilour said entry into politics was very difficult for her despite being from the family of martyrs. She said a woman has to work very hard to achieve her goals in a patriarchal set up. She said she tries to take part in legislation for women’s rights and resolve problems of people, particularly the women, in her constituency.
The ANP lawmaker said women don’t get rights in a Pakhtun society which they really deserve. She said women enjoy great honour and respect in Pakhtun society, but when it comes to their rights, then they face difficulties. She told TNN that just specifying a single day in the whole calendar year for women’s rights and talking about it on that specific day is not enough. “We must continue to work for women’s rights continuously,” she added.
Another huge problem, according to Samar Bilour, is deprivation of women from their share in ancestral property. She said legislation for women’s rights must be among the top priorities of the government ant other parties.