Barring women from casting votes: NGOs to have special focus on 16 constituencies

Dunya News

More and more work is required to ensure women's participation in casting votes.

By Dunya Election Cell

(WebDesk) - International observers and organizations working for the rights of women will have keen focus over the 26 constituencies where the women are barred from casting votes owing to extremism and tribal customs and local traditions. The rate of casting vote remained as low as 5 per cent in these constituencies. International and national organizations working for human rights had taken notice of barring women from casting votes. In this regard, they gave proper suggestions and recommendations to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

International observers will have focus on this general elections too

Even at this time, to cover the general elections of 25 July, observers under the EU leadership of Michael Gillard, a group of 60 members including 9 experts will come to Pakistan on 22 June. They will stay in Pakistan until the election process completes.

Under the leadership of Michael Gillard, the group of international observers has covered the general elections of 2002, 2008, and 2013. It also visited Pakistan for a follow-up mission. After monitoring them in Pakistan, it prepared its ultimate report and asked the government to get rid of the reasons that are barring women from casting votes.

Similarly, organization working for the betterment and rights of women ‘Aurat Foundation’ in collaboration with Gender Concerns International prepared a report after monitoring General Elections 2013 and explored severe reservations over 17 constituencies for stopping women from casting votes.

During elections, women face various issues throughout the country. Photo: REUTERS

Senstative constituencies with regard to women participation

The constituencies where such incidents were reported include: NA 5 Upper Dir, NA 6 Lower Dir, NA 9 Buner, NA 22 Mardan, NA 39 Dera Ismail Khan, NA 26 Nowshera, NA 12 Batgram, and NA 8 Malakand. While from Punjab, they were NA 65 Chakwal, NA 158 Multan, NA 182 Muzaffargarh, NA 193 and 194 from Rajanpur, and NA 144 Okara. On the same pattern, reservations on Balochistan and KP were also given.

Women standing in queue to vote. Photo: File

In various parts of KP, owing to influence of Taliban, the extremism remained in presence but this time, as their influence has been terminated, the situation seems to be getting improved. Moreover, previously, due to various tribal cultures, the women voter turnover ratio has been very low.

In various polling stations of the mentioned constituencies, the ratio has only been zero while collectively it was no more than 5 per cent.

Women holding their CNICs to caste votes. Photo: File

Women’s participation should be ensured by all stakeholders

An amendment was made in Election Act 2017 on 16 November, 2017 keeping in view the objections in the reports prepared by the international observers and local NGOs. According to it, ECP was given mandate to reject the result of the polling stations where the ratio of women voters was less than 10 per cent.

Regional Director of Aurat Foundation explained that special teams are ready to monitor the general elections. He showed his reservations and told that with regard to making women more vigilant of their duties and responsibilities regarding taking part in the elections, various projects have been initiated.

 Although extremism discouraged women from exercising their right to caste vote, but now the situation is different. Photo: File

 The actual situation would be known from the forthcoming elections that if the women are given right to vote or analogous situation prevails.

For more Elections 2018 News and updates visit, Dunya Election 2018.