Islamabad: At an event held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts Auditorium, Oxford University Press launched the political autobiography of Syeda Abida Hussain titled Power Failure: The Political Odyssey of a Pakistani Woman.
Based on her personal notes and diaries, Syeda Abida Hussain in this book has recorded events that have resonated with her, and in which she had some part to play. The author highlights the impact of the key political events of the country on her personal life as well as that on the destiny of the nation. The book is also an anecdotal account of missed opportunities. The narrative covers the author’s privileged childhood, her entry into politics, and the hurdles she faced along the way as a woman politician in the male-dominated society of rural Punjab.
She provides details of the deterioration and erosion of the country’s institutions. Pakistan’s close embroilment in Afghanistan has also been discussed. The author attempts to provide insights into the reasons for poverty and inequity of our societal construct, conspiracies spawned by individuals and interests, both at the national and international levels. Light has also been shed on the regressive elements in Pakistan.
Syeda is a politician, horse and cattle breeder, agriculturist, and diplomat. Abida Hussain has the distinction of being the first woman to chair the District Council of Jhang, and the first woman to be popularly elected as Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. She served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States from 1991 to 1993. She has also served as Minister for Education, Science and Technology (1996); Minister for Food and Agriculture (1997); Minister for Population Welfare; and Minister for Environment and Urban Affairs (1999).
The launch ceremony featured a stimulating discussion between Syeda Abida Hussain; Ayaz Amir, journalist and politician; and Naeem Bokhari, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court and television personality. During the conversation, Syeda Abida Hussain touched upon how, as an individual and as a politician, she often found herself caught up in the vortex of contentious political issues and events, with her life often under threat, and her career in politics interrupted and prematurely curtailed. In her welcome address, Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press Pakistan, said that the book being launched is a rich collection of personal episodes and experiences, valuable because they come from Syeda Abida Hussain’s life flecked by a range of diverse experiences. “In this book you will find anecdotes featuring Abida’s encounters with the leading lights of Pakistani politics and foreign notables as well as her insights in the different areas of human experience she was privileged to have witnessed.” she further added.