Kashmala Tariq is one of the most prominent and promising woman Parliamentarians of Pakistan. Over the years, her Parliamentary career has come to define her as a champion of women’s causes, democracy and human rights in Pakistan. She has focused on democratic governance, rule of law, global peace and inter-provincial harmony in her long standing career. A self made person, Kashmala Tariq earned a place in Pakistan’s Parliament through dint of sheer hard work and commitment to serve the nation and not through affiliation with any political dynasty. Her political insight has been internationally recognized, demonstrated through her election as Chair of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) in 2007. Her contributions as Chair of CWP served to establish the importance of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association globally.
Politics is more than a passion for Kashmala Tariq. Humanity, social service, rule of law, women’s emancipation and democratic governance has been the guiding force through out her political career. She joined active politics as a student at Punjab University as an activist in the youth division of Pakistan Peoples Party, Peoples Students Federation (1993-95) and became the president of PPP Youth in Punjab province. At London School of Economics she again proved her mettle in politics and was elected as the president of the Student Union of the school (1999).
During her student life in London she decided to enter national politics of Pakistan and joined the political party of former Pakistan Cricket Captain Imran Khan, Tehreek e Insaaf. She worked as its chief coordinator for UK and Europe (1998 – 2000).
On return to Pakistan, Kashmala entered mainstream politics and joined Pakistan Muslim League. She was elected member of the National Assembly from the platform of Pakistan Muslim League in 2002. She was re-elected to the National Assembly in 2008 which was an acknowledgement of her political vision and services. Kashmala is an active parliamentarian and member of three National Assembly Standing Committees of: Local Government, Commerce and Trade, and Finance and Revenue. She is also the Secretary Information of her political party Pakistan Muslim League.
Through out her political career in the National Legislature, Kashmala has strived for women’s emancipation and human rights. She drafted and presented legislative bills of significant national importance in the National Assembly of Pakistan. They include the Hudood bill, Honor Killing bill and National Commission for Human Rights bill.
The Hudood Bill and Honor Killing bill were moved to save the lives of millions of Pakistani women, victims of the so called cultural and social traditions of the country. These two bills have served to redeem thousands of Pakistani women against the ill treatment meted out to them by male members of the society.
The third bill targeted the deteriorating human rights situation in Pakistan; it emphasized the need for a National Human Rights Commission in Pakistan to upgrade the deplorable condition of human rights in the country. Kashmala has been a vocal opponent of hereditary political system in Pakistan. In her view, every capable and talented citizen of Pakistan should get an equal opportunity to be able to serve the country through mainstream politics.
As Member of CPA & Ex-Chairperson of CWP
Kashmala has been associated with the CPA for the last 9 years. Kashmala believes in the vision of and the values of the Commonwealth. These are the same values she has fought for since her early political career as a student activist and continues to do so as a Parliamentarian. Her work in the CPA over the last decade is a natural progression of her national interests. As Chairperson of CWP she worked tirelessly as an advocate of democracy, gender equity and human rights. She worked assiduously to find solutions to the problems faced by all Commonwealth countries in realizing the goals of women empowerment and equal opportunity for all. She proved to be a standard bearer of global harmony and unity. Due to her robust participation in CWP as a representative of the Asia region of CWP, and later as the vice-chairperson of CWP, she was elected as the chairperson of CWP in recognition of her services and contribution to CWP. As the chairperson, her efforts resulted in making the voice of women parliamentarians’ influential in the CPA decision and policy making. It was due to her unrelenting efforts that CWP Chair was recognized as “Officer of the Association” which was unprecedented in the hundred year history of CPA. During her tenure as the CWP Chair, Kashmala was also successful in getting the CWP budget increased by the main CPA authorities.
As A Human Rights Activist
Kashmala has worked consistently over the last many years as a human rights activist in Pakistan; working for the marginalized and suppressed classes of the society. Her work in this area has focused on providing justice and basic necessities. As the chairperson of the Parliamentarians’ Commission for Human Rights, she brought the voice of the downtrodden to the corridors of power in order to provide relief to the people. Mukhtaran Mai case and Jail Reforms are the two of the most striking examples of Kashmala’s efforts in this area.
To serve the people more effectively she has also worked in collaboration with many important national and international organizations which include: Pakistan National Group of Parliamentarians for Global Action; UNAIDS Pakistan’s Special Committee; General Secretary of Social Advancement towards Humanity; an NGO concerned with environmental issues.
She has also led many projects related to bonded labor, child domestic labor and women emancipation in collaboration with ILO. She worked with OHCHR over the state of human rights in Pakistan. She made great efforts for the rights of minorities in Pakistan in partnership with the Royal Embassy of Netherlands. She is a working partner with USAID in pursuit of ameliorating the state of education and improvement of basic necessities of life in Pakistan. She also worked with DIFID for poverty reduction.
In recognition of her talent, commitment to social causes, and her vision of national and global affairs, Kashmala has been a frequent envoy of Pakistan to important conferences and seminars held in various capitals of the world by the Pakistan Government. She has represented Pakistan in the following conferences:
- UN General Assembly’s 23rd Session in 2003- presented a paper & participated in Human Rights committee.
- Member of the Pakistan Parliamentary Delegation with the Prime Minister for India in 2004.
- WTO Symposium in Switzerland in April 2005 – WTO after 10 years: Global problems and Multilateral Solutions.
- 51st Annual CPA Conference in Fiji Islands where she secured the position of the regional representative of Asia.
- UN Human Right Council’s annual meetings at Geneva, Switzerland in 2005.
- Asia and Middle East Dialogue at Singapore 2005.
- IPU Ministerial meeting of WTO held at Hong Kong.
- National Defence College workshop and study tour to Turkey.
- WTO annual Conference in Geneva, 2006.
- 52nd Annual CPA Conference, Nigeria 2006.
- Member trade delegation to US for trade negotiations.
- Dialogue on the issue of isolation of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus June, 2007.
- South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) dialogue held in Shimla, India, 2007.
- CFOs: the opportunities and challenges ahead organized by ACCA March 13th & 14th 2007.
- Presented a paper on Money Laundering at a conference Bangladesh – 2007 held by Global Organization for Parliamentarians against corruption (GOPAC).
- Presented a paper in the regional meeting of Commonwealth Small Countries at Belfast 2007.
- Elected as Chairperson Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians in India September, 2007 at 53rd Annual CPA Conference.
- Visited USA as a President’s special envoy in December, 2007.
- Attended a CPA workshop in Kualalampur, Malaysia, organized by World Bank.
- Participated in CPA midyear meeting held in Jersey in 2008.
- Participated in 54th Annual CPA Conference held in Malaysia, September 2008.
- Attended CWP Executive Committee Meeting in Gauteng Province, South Africa.
- Participated in the midyear CPA meeting in Swaziland, 2009.
- Attended 55th Annual CPA Conference in Tanzania, 2009.
- Participated in the Women Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) in Barbados, 2010.
- Attended 56th Annual CPA conference in Kenya in 2010.
- Represented Pakistan in IPU Conference 2011 in Panama.
Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bangladesh, Canada, Cambodia, China, Fiji Islands, France, Granada, Hong Kong Ireland, Indonesia, India, Italy, Jersey, Kenya, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius,, Monaco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Netherlands, Panama, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Srilanka, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, U.A.E, U.K, U.S.A, Virgin Islands.
Kashmala is a corporate lawyer by profession. After the completion of her LLM from London School of Economics (LSE), she joined the corporate law firm Bower Cotton in London as an associate lawyer. On return to Pakistan she joined Zafar and Mandviwala, a law firm run by a veteran lawyer in Pakistan, Senator SM Zafar, as an associate partner. Currently she is running her own law firm, Kashmala and Associates. Honesty, hard work and constant efforts are the hallmark of her professional life.
Kashmala graduated from Kinnaird College Lahore, Pakistan. She obtained a degree in law (LLB) from Punjab University Lahore, Pakistan. She obtained LLM Degree in Corporate and Commercial laws with distinction from the London School of Economics. She speaks Urdu, English, French and Punjabi.
Kashmala has proved that a woman from a middle class background, without any political support in a third world country can make a difference in the national arena to satisfy her passion to serve the cause of the oppressed; to improve the lives of women in Pakistan; to contribute towards the advancement of democratic governance; and to support the rule of law, through hard work, determination and an unyielding commitment. Kashmala is the proud mother of one son. She has demonstrated that a woman can successfully fulfill her domestic, professional and political life in a balanced manner.