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‘Most women in rural areas still without CNICs’

UMERKOT: Speakers at a consultative workshop held here on Friday called for voters’ education and said that a majority of rural women are still without Computerised National Identity Cards because of a lack of awareness about its importance and access to NADRA offices.

It was the need of the hour to ensure women’s participation in the electoral process for which preparation of their CNICs and registration of votes and education about whom to cast votes was necessary, said the speakers.

The workshop on “supporting women CNIC registration in the district” was organised by a local NGO in collaboration with USAID at its Umerkot office.Umerkot Deputy Commissioner Syed Ahmed Ali Shah said that preparation of CNICs and registration of votes would be of no use until voters were educated about voting for the right candidate.

To achieve this purpose, he said, a massive campaign for sensitisation and mobilisation was needed. He would soon convene a meeting of all taluka mukhtiarkars and ask them to make it binding on landlords to ensure their peasants had CNICs.

Ghulam Mustafa Khoso, executive director of an NGO, said the reasons behind women’s lack of interest in CNICs were unawareness, access to the NADRA office and illiteracy which made it difficult for them to approach officials and fill in forms.

He said that many women complained that they could not get their cards prepared because of overcrowedness at the NADRA office. The fact that their male members too had no cards was also an impediment to their getting the cards, he said.

Assistant Director of NADRA’s Umerkot office, Noor Mohammad Bhambhro, said that most women gave wrong names because of illiteracy and pronunciation problems and in many cases they did not tell names of their husbands.

Advocate Mor Oad complained that NADRA staff did not fill in forms properly and often fed wrong names and data which created problems for children in preparation of their documents. No gazetted official was ready to attest forms, adding to difficulties of the poor and illiterate people, he said.

Bansi Malhi called for voter education and said rural men as well as women did not know when their CNICs expired. They would, therefore, not be able to vote in the upcoming election, he said.

Sardar Bhayo said that peasants and labour communities wielded the bulk of votes and they in reality would decide the fate of a contestant for provincial assembly membership.

District Officer of Education Ghulam Mustafa Soomro blamed illiteracy for people’s lack of awareness about the importance of CNICs and votes.