MANSEHRA: Women voters didn’t exercise their franchise in Torghar on Saturday due to local culture and traditions.
“Local elders and tribesmen didn’t allow women to cast vote at combined polling stations in Torghar. Staff were present there but women didn’t show up throughout the day,” said Mohammad Zahid, local member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
The tribal status of Torghar was changed to a settled district in late 2011. It is part of NA-21.
“Despite presence of polling staff, no women voter shown up at polling stations,” said Mr Zahid.
Sources in Torghar said jirgas were held early this week at various polling stations, where local residents without the presence of any candidate decided to keep female members of their families away from polling stations.
“Our traditions and culture don’t allow us to send women to polling stations and that is why women didn’t cast vote like the past,” said a local man, who attended a jirga.
Meanwhile, women voters didn’t exercise their franchise in Tanda village due to the boycott of polling by the local community.
“A jirga was held on Friday night, where it was decided that people won’t send women to cast vote at the combined polling stations as it is against our culture and tradition,” said local resident Saleem Khan.
He said the local community had objected to establishment of men and women combined polling stations but the administration didn’t bother about it and the local community had left with no option but to decide against sending women to polling stations.
Sadia Javed, presiding officer of Tanda village polling station No 301, said polling of women could not be held there.
She said a total of 347 votes were registered at 301 polling stations but none of them was cast.
“We are present at polling stations but no women voters showed up here,” she said.