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Remembering Ammi: Ali Wahab remembers his mother Mohtarma Fauzia Wahab

Ali Wahab with his mother Mohtarma Fauzia Wahab

Related posts: LUBP Archive on Mohtarma Fauzia Wahab

“Ali bhaiAmmi’s surgery should have finished by now, but there are some complications, I will let you know in an hours’ time what happened”. This phone call from my sister on May 25 was the beginning of the end of my mother, Fauzia Wahab, who passed away on June 17. She was 55. We all thought that Ammi would walk out of the hospital with her trademark smiling demeanour. Even so, she fought valiantly in the face of multiple complications for 24 days.

Coming from a modest and conservative background, Ammiquestioned the routes often decided by families for their daughters — a basic education immediately followed by marriage. Despite being a descendent of a leading religious scholar, Imdadullah Muhaajir Makki, she rebelled by choosing student politics and that, too, from the leftist platform of the Progressive Students Front at Karachi University. Having married my late father, Wahab Siddiqui, who was a leading journalist and one of the earliest political anchors on PTV,Ammi had 14 years of  ‘inactivity’, during which she bore four children and became involved with social projects like improving cleanliness in our area and creating a public park. She also arranged corner meetings for PPP candidates in the 1988 and 1990 general elections, which became her introduction to the party. Her life changed after February 1993, when our father died of cardiac arrest. In October 1994, while working for a leasing company, she received a phone call from her political mentor: “Fauzia, congratulations, you have been notified as a councillor in the KMC (Karachi Municipal Corporation), please go and take oath.”

Mohtarma Fauzia Wahab
The PPP in Karachi did not have many women who were active as well as educated in its cadre. Ammi was chosen as the information secretary of PPP Sindh’s women’s wing by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto but she faced many barriers to entry. She was harassed, lost her job and efforts were made to oust her from politics. But she kept absorbing the pressure to achieve her political goals. The 1997 elections were a disaster for the PPP. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto saw potential in Ammi’s communication skills and appointed her central coordinator of the party’s Human Rights Cell, which worked actively in highlighting cases of victimisation. The Mukhtaran Mai case was raised on all forums on behalf of the PPP and Ammi played an important role in establishing a relationship with the likes of the Aurat Foundation. Her dream of reaching the parliament was achieved in 2002, when she was nominated for a reserved seat for women from Sindh.

Ammi openly expressed her feelings at meetings and frequently quoted that a “House divided against itself cannot stand on its own”. Her frank opinions got her into trouble as well. While quoting the relevant Vienna Convention clauses relating to the immunity of Raymond Davis, who held a diplomatic passport, she drew the ire of the ghairat brigade. She resigned as information secretary not because she said something wrong but because it was something of an exclusive domain of the forces that matter in Pakistan.

As a single mother and political activist, I am proud of what Ammiachieved. When she passed away on the night of Shab-e-Miraj and a light shower followed her soyem, we could not have been happier for her, as she had left us for a better place.

On behalf of the family, I would like to thank all those who contacted us. The prayers and love made us strong and the turnout of people from all walks of life at her funeral and soyem is something we shall always remember.

The writer (Ali Wahab) is an investment banker based in the UAE. He contributes regularly to The Express Tribune’s Business pages

Source:  Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


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  • Your mother was indeed a fighter and her passing is a great loss to the cause of progressive politics.May she rest in Peace إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

  • beautiful tribute to a mother. what a loss 4 her family and pakistan as well.RIP, fauzia. u r greatly missed.

  • The greatness of Ms Wahab is quite evident from your piece of writing Ali bhai. She is surely missed in peopl’s heart. I did not hear or read a single comment against her which shows how wonderful human being she was. May Allah give her a place in Jannah along your late father and give courage to the family to bear this difficult time!

  • blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/12250/fauzia-wahab-a-trailblazer-for-pakistani-women/

  • Fauzia Wahab among 41 nominated for Civil Award from Sindh
    By Abdullah Zafar – Jun 27th, 2012 (No Comment)
    Karachi: Forty-one names of people belonging to different walks of life have been sent to the Federal Government for conferment of Civil Awards 2012.
    Names of former MNA Fauzia Wahab (late) and Secretary General, People’s Party Sindh Taj Hyder are included in the list for potential recipients of the Civil Awards.
    The list dispatched to the Cabinet Division contains names of the people belonging to various professions and walks of life including research & education, social services, trade, sports, literature and art.
    The names of Fauzia Wahab and Dr Aftab Qureshi have been recommended for posthumous Sitara-i-Imtiaz while late TV artist Kamal Shah for Pride of Performance.
    After approval, the Federal Government will confer the Civil Awards for 2012 on August 14.


  • PAKMAN ‏@FarrukhSiddiqui
    #FauziaWahab among 41 nominated for Civil Award from Sindh

    farahnaz ispahani ‏@fispahani
    Fauzia Wahab’s death loss for Pakistan. http://newsweekpakistan.com/scope/1385 @bakhtawarbz #PPP via NewsweekPakistan

    Shehrbano Taseer ‏@shehrbanotaseer
    My obituary on the late Fauzia Wahab for @NewsweekPak http://t.co/AIMwIAFW

    Aamir Mughal ‏@mughalbha
    A son Ali Wahab for his Mother Remembering Ammi http://tribune.com.pk/story/399010/remembering-ammi/ #FauziaWahab May Allah eternally bless her in Heavens

    Farhad Ahmed Jarral ‏@farhadjarral
    PM visits residence of late Fauzia Wahab – Associated Press of Pakistan: PM visits residence of late Fauzia Waha… http://t.co/jvpBz7gi

    Sana Bucha ‏@sanabucha
    Touche”@fispahani: A gap that is so hard to fill. RT @beenasarwar: Shazia Marri to take late Fauzia Wahab’s NA seat

    farahnaz ispahani ‏@fispahani
    Remembering Fauzia Wahab. A committed democrat and progressive politician. God bless you. #PPP

    Asad Munir ‏@asadmunir38
    @Tariq_Rafiq @fisphahani I only know that the great Fauzia Wahab is no more with us.

    Farhad Ahmed Jarral ‏@farhadjarral
    RT @PPPSocialMedia: Fauzia Wahab — a sane voice and holder of progressive values – By Farhad Jarral .. My …

    Aseefa B Zardari ‏@AseefaBZ
    Visited Fauzia Wahab’s family and offered my respect and condolences on behalf of @BBhuttoZardari, @BakhtawarBZ and the rest of my family

    Amir Sayani ‏@amirsayani
    RT @ePakistanToday: Remembering Fauzia Wahab http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/?p=195632 #Fauzia #Remeber #Wahab

    Columnpk ‏@ColumnpkCom
    Fauzia Wahab, Alwida by Tanveer Qaisar http://t.co/NqhxZlWy

    Ammara Tiger ‏@AmmaraTiger
    Through it all, Wahab never lost her smile or her cool.She might have been outspoken but Fauzia Wahab was never bitter http://t.co/CvrqRGHg

    Aasim Saeed ‏@ashuftasar
    we hide our tears when we speak your name // but the pain in our hearts is still the same #Bhuttos #PPP #FauziaWahab

    Javed ‏@alzulfiquar
    @Maria_Memon: #FauziaWahab was a unique combination of wit, humour, candor and eloquence!

    Ali Khan ‏@ali__khan
    @sharmilafaruqi @BakhtawarBZ @MaryamNSharif Please RT #dedication to #FauziaWahab http://t.co/1atu091X

  • Undoubtedly, her death was a great shock and loss for everyone who knew this great lady.
    In a nearly two years long acquaintance with this great lady, i saw a very humble, kind person and a very committed political worker who, without caring for consequences used to speak her heart out in press and public gatherings.
    My acquaintance with her started in the year 2009 when as a reporter working on PPP beat, i had my first meeting Ms Fauzia Wahab who was the Secretary Information of her party and as per expectations, she impressed. Her arguments carried weight, her speeches were fiery, she knew the danger was there, trial in media, judiciary and among anti PPP circles could never diminish her courage. I found her calling a spade a spade.
    The bitter aspect related with her political course was the disloyalty of her own leadership and those who couldnt stomach a dedicated worker assuming a central office of party, which probably she has run in the best of ways in post Benazir Bhutto scenario. Her commitment, loyalty and her kindness as a human being were the things which really appear in my mind again and again and still, it seems, she is around yet not visible.
    Love to Ali Wahab and Murtaza

  • Despite the rampant corruption in the rank and file of our poiticians, the name of this great lady, a woman of substance, remains untainted. She was simple, straight forward and a courageous woman. May ALLAH SUBHANATALLA shower HIS eternal blessings on her gentle soul and admit her to the gardens of JANNAH.
    No one can share and imagine the pain and sorrow of her children but we all can, and should certainly recite Fatiha for her.
    “In blossom today then scattered, life is so like a delicate flower, how can one expect the fragrance to last forever”

  • Her smile and sense of humor will always stay with us. One of the most intelligent politicians around. A great loss for Pakistan. I can’t even begin to imagine how much her children must be missing her. 55 was too young an age to die.