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‘More than 300,000 women in Lahore still without identity’

* Seminar highlights need to include all eligible women in electoral process
* Participants say women are an important catalyst of change

LAHORE: The participants of a seminar were informed that more than 300,000 women are deprived of their identity in Lahore, which was an alarming situation.

NA-130 under the umbrella of SANGAT Foundation conducted the one-day seminar titled ‘Meri Shankaht, Mera Vote, Lekin…?’ at the TMA Hall Samanabad.

Representatives of the ECP, NADRA, PML-N, MQM and Awami Muslim League participated in the seminar as key-note speakers.

The agenda of the seminar was that more than 300,000 women in Lahore could not cast their vote in the upcoming general election, as they did not have computerised national identity cards.

NADRA Director Manger (MRV) Usman Rabbani requested the SANGAT Foundation to identify the areas where women did not hold CNICs. He said that NADRA would cooperate with the Foundation to lessen this gap in Lahore before the election schedule. He also stated that illiterate people could get their CNICs showing their birth certificates instead of educational degrees.

ECP Election Officer Atif Rahim stated that political identity of a citizen was adult suffrage. To cast a vote was the constitutional and basic right of any woman, he said.

PML-N MPA Kiran Dar stated that women had great importance in society. “To give her freedom to use her basic and constitutional right is the responsibility of her man at home. To get awareness regarding voter education among the women also depends on her man.”

Awami Muslim League Lahore Vice President Ali Hassan Jaffari seconded the statement of Kiran Dar by saying that until men change their mind, “we cannot hope to see positive changes in Pakistan”. He congratulated the SANGAT Foundation for organising such a seminar and hoped that the foundation would continue such efforts in the future to create awareness among people regarding important issues.

Speaking on the occasion, MQM Joint Secretary Azam Danyal stated that no woman was safe in society. “She always depends on her man and is often deprived of her basic rights. It is needed that all parties and civil society organisation work together for the welfare of Pakistan.”

SANGAT NA-130 Programme Officer Asma Aamir said that to cast a vote was the constitutional right of every woman. She said that women had always held great importance in the progress of any society, no matter if it was a developed or a developing one.

“I am a woman. I am a woman that can make a difference. And So I am a woman that can change.”

She said that a positive change in Pakistan was only possible when women also had freedom to use their constitutional rights equally.

She also stated SANGAT Foundation was working on voter registration in NA-122, NA-127 and NA-130 in Lahore with the collaboration of NADRA, and that the initiative would continue in the future.

Daily Times