By Shahid Hussain Yousafzai
TIMERGARA: A total of 32,812 new voters, including 12908 women, have been registered in Lower Dir district, official sources said.
As per the 2015 voter list provided by the district election commission, the number of registered voters in the district was 5,89,999 including, 3,50,784 men and 2,39,215 women.
With new registration, the number of registered voters in Lower Dir district raised to 6,22,811, of whom 3,70,688 are men and 2,52,123 women.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had declared by-poll on PK-95 Jandool, Lower Dir, earlier held on May 7, 2015, after women of the constituency were disenfranchised.
Later, the court annulled the election commission’s decision and ordered issuing notification for the winning candidate Aizazul Mulk Afkari as member provincial assembly.
Political experts in Lower Dir believe that registration of new voters by the district election commission, especially women voters, would certainly have great impact on the upcoming elections in the district. They said the district had earned a bad name regarding disenfranchisement of women.
However, workers of various political parties in the district were of the view that women had never been barred from casting their votes but as per the local traditions, they willingly don’t go to polling stations and want to stay indoors on the polling day.
They expressed dissatisfaction over arrangements of the district election commission for election and said establishing only five separate polling stations for hundreds of thousands of women voters all over the district was in no way sufficient for the women who strictly observe purdah as part of their tradition.
They suggested the district election commission to ensure setting up separate polling stations easily accessible by women voters, which would definitely increase the ratio of women votes during elections. They dismissed reports of some NGOs regarding women’s disenfranchisement in the district and said some organisations were trying to get lucrative projects in the name of women’s disenfranchisement.