This article looks at women's representation in local government in Pakistan, focusing particularly on the introduction of a quota setting 33 per cent of the seats for women brought in under General Musharraf's Devolution of Power Plan in 2000. The article suggests that establishing a direct correlation between a woman's quota and regime type is problematic. It demonstrates a complex pattern of interaction on the issue by both the military and civilian regimes in Pakistan. Policies which have been brought in, informed both by political pragmatism and ideological continuity, have been wide ranging and almost contradictory in nature. The article also highlights the importance of the roles of NGOs and women activists in providing capacity building and support for mobilizing women both as candidates and as voters. It shows that women's struggles at grassroots can bring achievements even in spaces where patriarchal norms rule, but these pathways to political empowerment are uneven and unpredictable.