Women stopped from voting in Mardan | Pakistan Today

Women stopped from voting in Mardan

The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) was outraged when female voters were not allowed to exercise their franchise in Mardan and Mianwali.
The commission said the incident, in which two political parties stopped women from voting at a number of polling stations during the by-elections held recently, was a major setback for the socio-economic conditions of women.
NCSW said Pakistani women have been deprived of their basic democratic, political and economic rights.
The incident negates the Article 34 of the Pakistan Constitution (1973) that says ‘steps shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life’.
The Women’s Commission has been reminding the Election Commission of Pakistan to bring in institutional structures and policies binding the political parties which indulge in lawless practices. It is regrettable to say that nothing tangible has been done so far and women continue to suffer at the hands of patriarchal forces.
The commission felt that the political representatives have joined hands with the patriarchal forces in the region to socially marginalise and political isolate women.
It said the act is condemnable and that excluding women from decision making bodies and depriving them of opportunities to voice their concerns will further widen the existing gender disparities and curtail the efforts made at advancing the gender equality agenda by the present government.
It is critical that women are allowed to claim their share of power to make decisions that directly affect their lives.
The NCSW demanded that the provincial government hold an enquiry into the incident and that the Election Commission declare the poll’s results null and void as did not constitute the voice of half of the population.
The commission felt that it was imperative for women to gain political representation in democratic institutions for any substantive change to occur in their lives. Their increasing visibility in the public arena will enhance their status and change social attitudes towards them.

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