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NADRA, EC to ensure registration of women voters

Islamabad – Pakistani Women form half of the country’s population are deprived of their constitutional right to cast vote according to their wishes in certain areas of the country.

However, some women rights activists criticised the women for not taking any interest in the politics and keeping themselves away from the political affairs.

The “Insaani Haqooq Ittehad”, an alliance of civil society organisations has asked the NADRA and Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure maximum possible registration of women voters and demanded to ensure the participation of all eligible voters in the polls.

According to alliance 50 per cent women have not been registered in the voter lists and many of them have been deprived of their right to vote, as they were not having Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs). Out of 33 million total unregistered voters, 20 million women, who have equal right to vote as that of other citizens but practically, they are devoid of this basic right. While talking to TheNation a leading civil rights activist Farzana Bari said that different problems restricted them from casting vote adding that they have problem of mobility, have not ID cards, they could not cast vote independently as they cast it according to wishes of their husbands and other male members of family.

Tribal values also stop women from casting vote. They can go to weddings and other functions, and their male family members have no objection to that.

But if they choose to fulfil their national obligation to vote, they are barred from doing so, instead of the fact that separate polling stations have been established for women across the country, commented an office worker, Asif.

Expressing her views on the issue, Shumailla, a working lady said, “Due to lack of knowledge they (women) are not aware of important issues, even they don’t know how many political parties will be taking part in coming elections.

“They are not using their minds and cast their vote, according to wish of their family head. In rural society even men cast their vote according to the wish of their community ruler, what to say of women,” she said.

Hamida who belongs to Chitral said that women confined their lives to their homes, their sufferings and hard routine kept them away from politics. “Eighty per cent women, do not have any concern with politics, they do not have any knowledge about importance of vote and its effects and just know the election symbols,” he added.

Source: The Nation

Date:11/28/2007

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