Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Women Speakers United

Meira Kumar and Fahmida Mirza have become friends and discovered a lot in common.

Both are first women Speakers of their countries, Meira of India and Fahmida of Pakistan.

Both hail from political families. Meira is the daughter of the late Jagjivan Ram, a former defence minister and deputy Prime Minister. Fahmida is married to a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Zulfikar Ali Mirza, who is a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Both had successful careers before joining politics. Meira, 64, was a diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service, Fahmida, 53, was a doctor.

In their current job as Speakers, they share a problem — that of unruly parliamentarians.

Today, they hugged and sat at the same table, displaying a frame of bonhomie that has eluded their countries.

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