Meet Suriya Bibi — PTI-backed KP deputy speaker

Farwa Agha
PTI leader Suraya Bibi. — Reporter
PTI leader Suraya Bibi. — Reporter

With the newly-elected members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly taking oath a day earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has picked out Suriya Bibi for the post of KP Assembly deputy speaker.

Suriya, 40, made it to the KP Assembly after winning Chitral's PK-1 seat. 

She became the first woman elected on a general seat in Chitral's history after securing 18,914 votes against the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl 's (JUI-F) Shakeel Ahmed, who could get only 10,533 votes.

Suriya, who holds Master's degrees in sociology and Urdu, decided to align her political goals with the PTI back in 2007 after getting disillusioned with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). 

She first stepped into electoral politics in the 2008 general elections by aggressively spearheading the party's campaign.

Since she joined the PTI, Suriya has been a rather active party member. In 2012, she formed a women's organisation for synergised efforts in the party's interests.

In 2020, she also undertook a massive reorganisation of the party at the district, tehsil and village council levels and actively participated in PTI's electoral campaign in the 2021 local government polls.

Expressing her views on her role as an MPA, Suriya recently vowed not only to work for the improvement of health and education sectors in her constituency but also to focus on addressing various social issues as well as improving the existing poor infrastructure there.

This isn't the first time a woman will take charge of one of the constitutional posts in a legislative assembly as previously Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Fahmida Mirza had served as the National Assembly's speaker from 2008 to 2013.

It would be interesting to see how Suriya performs her duties as the deputy speaker and what role she might play in the empowerment of women in the province.