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Warning to Waziristan women

MIRAMSHAH: An unknown group on Wednesday warned that women in a restive tribal region should not vote in elections, threatening punishment.

“The people of Waziristan are hereby warned that they should not allow their women to cast votes and shouldn’t let any candidate influence them,” said a pamphlet.

Signed by “Mujahideen”, the leaflets were thrown from vehicles into shops in Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.

“Take our words, this kind of disgraceful act will not be tolerated and anyone influencing women to cast a vote will be punished,” the pamphlet said.

In tribal communities women live in purdah, confined to women’s-only quarters at home. They do not go shopping, they do not work outside the house and they only go to hospital in a dire emergency.

Out of a population of 180 million in Pakistan, 37 million women and 48 million men are registered to vote in the polls on Saturday.

But in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tribal areas on the Afghan border and Balochistan, few women voted in the last election and officials fear it will be the same again.

In 2008, not a single vote was cast at 564 of 28,800 women’s polling stations, officials said.

Source: Dawn

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