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Women barred from voting in Mardan, Dir

PESHAWAR: Candidates contesting the by-elections from the constituencies of NA-11 Mardan, PF-91 Upper Dir-I and PF-92 Upper Dir-II ‘disenfranchised’ women on Thursday, claiming that Pashtun tradition does not allow women to leave their houses to vote.

Pakistan People’s Party’s Khanzada Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Tajul Amin Jabal, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Amresh Khan and independent candidates agreed a day before the by-election that women will be barred from voting in the elections, Mukamil Khan, a voter from NA-11 told Daily Times.

A female presiding officer at Katlang polling station said that she was told by party workers of an agreement signed between the contesting candidates in which they agreed to bar women voters in the constituency.

A political party’s female polling agent, asking not to be named, told Daily Times that the candidates in NA-11, had verbally agreed to bar women from voting. “We are only here to prevent women from voting, as there is an agreement barring their participation in the balloting process,” women polling agents from various parties told Daily Times.

There are 9,9254 female voters in NA-11. Women were also barred from voting in the PF-91 and PF-92 constituencies in the North West Frontier Province. There are 3,0844 female voters in PF-91 and 2,7475 female voters in PF-92.

According to Dilawar Jan, a local from Dir district, barring women from exercising their right of vote in elections has become a tradition for contesting candidates. He said the present move is not surprising at all.
Source: The News
Date:6/27/2008

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