ISLAMABAD - The Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) has ostensibly become controversial after the recent division between treasury and opposition MNAs on Dr Shireen Mazari’s verbal clash with Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, which may affect its working in future.

The WPC was formed to increase women’s impact on political decisions but this recent episode has clearly created division in different members. Most of the female opposition members are much concerned about this body’s future working to deal with the issues related to women.

The WPC under PML-N has proven to be useless on the issue of women and against their abuses, says some woman lawmaker from opposition, adding that no action in Shireen Mazari’s issue has exposed its working.

Lawmakers from government side believe that the working of WPC would not affect with this single incident. “Bigger cause should not affect, as I would make effort to overcome this issue,” said Secretary WPC MNA Shaista Pervez Malik while talking to The Nation.

Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif, during the budgetary proceedings around a week before had used some words in the house which created rumpus in opposition benches.

Dr. Shireen Mazari from PTI and other opposition lawmakers had staged walkout, demanding apology from Khawaja Asif for using derogatory remarks.

The minister submitted his apology in the Speaker’s chamber but it was not acceptable to opposition members, as they attempted to raise this matter at the WPC.

Talking to The Nation, Dr Shireen Mazari remarked that the WPC under PML-N has proven to be useless on the issue of standing up women and against their abuse. “That is because the PML-N women members are mostly related to their members and are proxies for them,“ said Mazari.

Women lawmakers from opposition Dr. Nafeesa Shah and Shazia Marri have already expressed much concern over this issue. They believed the government side at proper forum would deal with the issue without any biased approach.

“I would make all-out efforts to overcome this issue,” said Shaista Pervez Malik, admitting that the anger and rage from Dr. Shireen was genuine. “Khawaja Asif tendered apology and we have also condemned this incident; now there should be a soft corner from other side too,” she remarked.

Another lawmaker from JUI-F Naeema Kishwar said that one should expect same remarks for constantly passing remarks against any member. “Dr. Shireen had never attended WPC meetings so the working of the body will never get affected,” she added.

“If you are making mockery of a senior lawmaker like Khawaja Asif then expect tit-for-tat response,” she remarked.

Maryam Orangzeb, a parliamentary secretary for interior, was also of the view that this issue would not affect the WPC working.

The women’s caucuses have been created with the aim of increasing women’s impact on political decisions. It is generally believed that the building of cross-party caucuses can help provide the support necessary to promote a gender equality legislative and policy agenda.

The WPC, formed in the Parliament headed by former NA speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, was considered a milestone in the country’s parliamentary history to the cause of women’s rights in Pakistan.