Kuala Lumpur, Aug 7: Benazir Bhutto look-alike created quite a sensation at the 54th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Kuala Lumpur. She is the first Pakistani woman Speaker, Dr Fehmida Mirza. She went around telling, I'm not related to Benazir...
"Yes, a lot of people have told me that I look like Benazir. I think it is a compliment. People in my constituency seem to think so. I take it as a compliment and sometimes I take advantage of it," said Fehmida with a laugh. Recalling that Benazir had introduced her to politics in 1997, Fehmida said: "Benazir Bhutto is an inspiration to all of us. I feel that what I am today is because of her struggles."
Trained as a doctor, 51-year-old Fehmida has been a member of the national assembly for three consecutive terms from 1997. Presently, she is a member of the ruling PPP that emerged as the single largest party in Feb 18 general elections. She made history in March when she became her country's first woman Speaker.
She said being the first woman speaker in her country was an honour which carried with it heavy responsibilities. "It's a big challenge," she said.
Asked if the men in Parliament took her seriously, she responded: "Up till now, they have done so. I'm a familiar face in Parliament. Previously, the men have been known to use unparliamentary language but whenever they do, I remind them to use the proper language."
Currently, 75 out of the 342 representatives in the National Assembly of Pakistan are women.