By: INAMULLAH KHATTAK
Islamabad – Women will constitute more than 33 per cent strength of the total 77-member Municipal Corporation of Islamabad, making the federal capital exemplary district by giving maximum empowerment to women on grassroots level.
After the revised notification of the Interior Ministry, the number of women to be elected on reserved seats will be 17 instead of nine seats in the earlier notification.
The Interior Ministry, according to officials in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), was against the increase in number of women seats triggering the latter to protest in this regard.
The revised notification has jacked up the number of women on reserved seats to 17 instead of nine. It shows the total 77-member Municipal Corporation will get 33 per cent women representation as compared to the four provinces where quota for women ranges between 14 to 15 per cent.
Similarly, seats reserved for peasants/workers seats have been increased from two to three, youth seats from two to three and non-Muslim seats also from two to three. While one seat for technocrat remains unchanged.
As many as 50 elected chairmen of union councils will form an electoral college to elect total of 27 members on reserved seats that will increase the strength of the MC to 77 members from the earlier 67 members’ college.
ECP officials said the Interior Ministry had deliberately cut the number of women on reserved seats after the opposition Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) grabbed majority of seats of chairman union councils.
They said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Raza Khan played his role in pressurising the ministry to ensure 33 per cent representation in the corporation under the relevant act.
Sub-section (2) of Section 12 of the ICT Local Government Act 2015 says, the number of women should not be less than 33 per cent of the electoral college, peasants/workers non-Muslim and youth not less than five per cent each and technocrat not less than two per cent.
Though the federal government said it was a clerical mistake by mentioning the number of women as nine on reserved seats, the ECP officials said it was a face saving move as in reality the Commission did not approve the notification.
A spokesman for the ECP said that Islamabad will emerge as the only district giving maximum representation to women, adding the ratio of women compared to male elected members in provinces was discouraging.