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SWABI: Contrary to previous elections, no NGO came forward

SWABI: Contrary to previous elections, no non-governmental organisation has come forward this time to educate women voters about their right to vote. The reason is the fast changing scenario in the NWFP, and the increasing incidents of violence.
Sources told Dawn on Sunday that in the past elections, especially for the ones for local bodies, various NG0s had arranged training programmes for women voters but this time they did not have such plans.

When asked, the chief of a leading NGO said no such programme was in the pipeline. However, he brushed aside the threat from the local Taliban. But insiders say the blowing up of CD shops and warning to various girls’ schools were a clear message to the local NG0s to refrain from encouraging women to come out of their homes.

The parents, whose children study in NGO-run schools, have been warned to get them transferred to other schools.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the family members of the candidates have started approaching women voters to persuade them to vote for their parties.

Sources said that some women have been going from house to house urging women to cast votes in the forthcoming elections. When asked, the candidates said that they had formulated a special plan under which women voters were being contacted.

They rejected the verbal agreements struck by the candidates in the local government elections under which women were not allowed to vote. However, they admitted that the turnout of women would be low as compared to men because they could not force men to allow their wives or daughters to vote.

The candidates added, however, that they would ensure that a large number of women vote in the elections.

Source: Dawn

Date:12/24/2007

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