KARACHI: Men are seizing computerised national identity cards (CNIC) of the women of their families in several districts of Sindh to stop them from voting in the February 18 elections.
The assassination of former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairwoman Benazir Bhutto provoked a wave of sympathy for the party, particularly in women and in Sindh. After being told that women sympathise with the PPP, election candidates opposing the People’s Party in Naushehro Feroz, Kashmore, Dadu, Ghotki, Tharparkar and Badin districts asked their voters to seize the CNICs of the women in their families to stop them from voting.
According to Election Commission records, there are 8,612,297 female voters in Sindh and 10,894,176 male voters. PPP leader Nisar Khuhro said there were complaints that men were seizing women voters’ identity cards in Padd Edan, near Nauoshehro Feroz. “Most women’s identity cards don’t have their photographs,” he said, “so the ID cards can be used to cast fake votes in other parts of Sindh as well.”
Naeemur Rehman, a spokesman for Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi-led National People’s Party (PPP’s major rival in Naushehro Feroz), said “people should accept [the] reality” following Benazir’s assassination. “We will probably win one seat in the National Assembly and one in the Sindh Assembly,” he said. “If Benazir Bhutto was alive, we would have won more seats.” He denied reports of women’s ID cards being taken away. Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) acting Secretary General Kashif Nizamani said it was possible people were seizing women’s identity cards in parts of Sindh, “but it is not possible in PML-F strongholds”. Gender, he said, could be a decisive factor in the February 18 elections.
Source: Daily Times