Dubai: A threat to Imran Khan in the upcoming Pakistan general elections could be none other than a 97-year-old woman. Carrying a sack and dressed in an old white salwar-kameez, Hazrat Bibi attempted to file her nomination papers for the Pakistan National assembly’s NA-35 (Bannu) and K-P assembly’s PK-89 (Bannu III) seats, according to the country’s English daily, Dawn.
Bibi is not new to Pakistan’s political arena, she ran five times in the past as a candidate, however she has failed to win in all of them.
The independent candidate hails from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bannu district. She advocates women’s rights – especially education and vows to serve her constituency in the district.
However, Bibi’s aspirations have been hindered due to her inability to pay the 30,000 Pakistani rupees (Dh928) nomination fee but that hasn’t stopped her from winning the hearts of social media users.
Journalist Azizullah Khan @Azizkhan_marwat posted on Twitter: “-97-year-old lady #Hazrat BIBi fails to submit he nomination form because of high fees. She sell land and borrowed money to contest election in Bannu but remains short of Rs 2000 only? How is this system?”
about 97 year old lady #Hazrat BIBi fails to submit he nomination farm because of high fees. she sell land and borrowed money to contest election in Bannu but remain short of Rs 2000 only,? how is this system? pic.twitter.com/OWuLI8i5BV— Azizullah Khan (@Azizkhan_marwat) June 12, 2018
Tweep Saleem Javed or @mSaleemJaved thought that she might be a better candidate than her competitors. He wrote: “I will pay extra attention to education for girls if I end up succeeding”, Hazrat Bibi… I’d have voted for her. Her vision is clearer than that of Imran’s. #Pakistan”
Politician Ayesha Gulalai and former member of Imran Khan’s political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) requested the Election Commission of Pakistan to assist Bibi with her aspirations.
Using her Twitter handle @wazir_gulalai, Gulalai posted: “Ironic, Hazrat Bibi 97 from Bannu wanted to contest against Imran [Khan] Niazi but not allowed to contest bec didn’t hv fee money. PTIG is the only party that wrote to ECP [Election Commission of Pakistan] to take back its decision of increase in fee. She took historic step & I request ECP to consider her case, our party will pay her fee.”
Ironic,Hazrat Bibi 97 frm Bannu wanted to contest ag Imran Niazi but not allowed to contest bec didn't hv fee money.PTIG only party that wrote to ECP to take back its decision of increase in fee.She took historic step & I request ECP to consider her case,our party wl pay her fee— Ayesha Gulalai Wazir (@wazir_gulalai) June 12, 2018
Facebook users also added to the conversation.
Azharuddin Mahar posted: “It’s so great that she still has such enthusiasm to work for the betterment of people. She deserves appreciation....”
Another user, Breera Wahid thought that Bibi is a positive example of Pakistani women. She wrote: “Well! Women from KPK has always been portrayed as oppressed but she has set a perfect example of women empowerment.”
However Bibi’s old age concerned some netizens.
Nabil Sami wrote on Facebook: “I don’t think age should be a bar but she’s way too old to be holding office. What if she becomes sick after getting elected? Fitness should be the first criteria for an office holder.”