PESHAWAR, Jan 31: Speakers at a discussion on violence against the women have demanded of the government to ensure the safe participation of female voters in the upcoming general elections by providing them special security arrangements at the polling stations.
The Aurat Foundation, Peshawar office, organised a one-day discussion on Thursday to inform the participants of the hardships being faced by the women in the election process, particularly on polling day.
The event was largely attended by the women candidates of different political parties running for the national and provincial assembly seats. Bushra Gohar of Awami National Party, Shazia Aurangzeb Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Nargis Sameen Jan of the Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao, Shah Farman of the Tehreek-i-Insaf Pakistan and members of civil society organisations took part in the discussion. They spoke on different aspect of the violence being inflicted on the womenfolk on the name of customs and culture.
Joint election commissioner Imtiaz Alam, deputy election commissioner Shafiq Ahmad and director human rights Shah Zaman represented the Provincial Election Commission.
Highlighting the importance of the discussion, resident director of Aurat Foundation Rukhshanda Naz spoke on the issues in the light of Women Rights Act 2006. She hoped that after being elected the women parliamentarians would raise these issues in the parliament. The discussion was followed by question-answer session.
Shazia Aurangzeb promised that after coming into power restoration of judiciary and democracy would be the first priority of her party. She said PML-N would enact positive legislation about women and children, who were target of different kinds of social prejudices.
Bushra Gohar said that their party believed in the philosophy of Bacha Khan and after coming into power ANP would strive to end all discriminatory laws, parallel judiciary system and would evolve new strategy regarding women reserved seats. She demanded an end to ongoing military operations in tribal areas and Swat.
Nargis Sameen said that their party priority would be to bring peace and review education and health policies especially about womenfolk. At the end of the discussion the participants reviewed hurdles being faced by women voters in different parts of the province.
The election commission representatives informed the participants about the polling arrangements. The participants demanded of the ECP to improve arrangements of the polling scheme and set up separate polling stations for women.
The ECP was asked that female staff should be deputed at women polling stations and all such stations should be established at accessible places. It was also demanded of the government and ECP that that results of all such areas should be declared null and void where women were not allowed to cast their votes.