Karachi: A protest under the aegis of the women’s wing of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was held on Thursday outside the office of provincial election commission against the decision to reduce number of reserved seats for women in local government agencies in the province.
The demonstration was attended by office-bearers of the Karachi office of the PPP’s Women Wing as well as organisations working for women’s rights. They protested against the decision to reduce the number of reserved seats for women from 33 percent to 22 percent in the Metropolitan Corporation, district councils, and union councils being formed in the province under the local government setup.
Those who spoke at the protest demonstration said that representation of women should not be lessened at any tier of governance when they had been at the forefront and were actively participating in various fields and disciplines in the society. They said that representation of women at the level of local govt set-up should remain intact and it should not be reduced when 50 percent population of the country comprised of women.
They said the PPP’s provincial govt in Sindh had envisaged and was successful in passing an amendment in Sindh Local Govt Act-2013 through which number of seats reserved for women had been increased from 22 per cent to 33 percent. This amendment was introduced to recognise the role of women in society.
The protesters lamented that Sindh High Court had acted in a unilateral manner as it scrapped the amendment incorporated into Sindh Local Govt Act, passed through majority vote in Sindh Assembly, because this has lead to lessening of reserved seats for women, while seats reserved for youth had been abolished altogether.
They said the concerned authorities should duly consider ratio of women in population while deciding on matters related to reserving seats in local govt set-up. The protesters, who held banners, urged the provincial election commissioners to rescind its notification causing reduction in number of reserved seats for women while representation of females should be restored to the extent of 33 percent of total number of seats in local bodies.