2 Pak women elected Sarpanches, one of them joined fray to get ‘importance’

Jehangir Lolabi / Peerzada Zubair

Srinagar, Nov 13: Two women from Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK), who put up with their husbands, both former militants here, have won Panchayti election for sarpanch and panch wards in Kupwara district of north Kashmir.
One of them, Dilshada (30), who was born in Chitter village of Muzaffarabad 30-years ago, won unopposed for Sarpanch ward in Prangroo Kalamabad Mawar Handwara.

The reason for her joining the poll fray, she said, was to get importance in the village.  
“Nobody was asking about me, where from I come and I thought of creating importance on my own and decided to contest,” she told GNS.  He also vowed to work for the welfare of local people.
Two nomination papers had been filed for the Sarpanch ward but one of the nominees withdrew the papers, leading to the election of Dilshada unopposed.

Dilshada married to Mohammad Yousuf Bhat (in his late thirties) whom she met in Muzaffarabad where he had landed after crossing over to LoC in 1997. Bhat remained there till 2012 before returning home along with Dilshada and five children via Nepal.   

“I was only 15 years old when I along with other boys crossed over to LoC and I was not mature enough then and followed others who crossed the LoC,” he said, adding, “After landing in Muzaffarabad, I started doing business and set up a shop and during my stay married there.”     

Dilshada is not alone from her native area to have joined the poll fray in Handwara. Another woman from PaK has been elected unopposed as Sarpanch and Panch in Khumriyal area of the Kupwara district.

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Arifa Begum (35) had come to this part of Kashmir along with her husband Ghulam Mohammad Mir via Nepal in 2010. Arifa, originally a resident of Palandari village in Muzaffarabad, had submitted nomination papers for both Panch as well as Sarpanch wards in Khumriyal-B in the frontier district.

There were no nominations against her and as such she has been declared elected unopposed for both Panch and Sarpanch wards, an official from the district administration said.
While talking to GNS, Ghulam Mohammad Mir said that he crossed over Line of Control (LoC) in 2001 and remained there till 2010 before returning home via Nepal along with his wife Arifa.

“During my days in Pakistan to earn the livelihood, Mir said adding “during the time I marred Arifa”.

A security officer told Global News Service (GNS) that while Bhat had exfiltrated in 1997, Mir crossed over in 2001 for arms training. The officer said that Mir and returned in 2010 and 2012 respectively and later surrendered. He said that both Arifa and Dilshada have been provided adequate security as part of the government decision of securing all the candidates contesting Panchayati elections in Jammu and Kashmir state. (GNS)

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