LAHORE: Female voters came out in huge numbers and thronged to the polling stations to cast their votes for the by-election of NA-120 as the polling was held on Sunday amid tight security by the police, rangers and the army.
According to the details, the by-election got much significance among the female voters as the two leading contestants, Dr Yasmeen Rashid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Begum Kulsoom Nawaz of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), were also females. Moreover, there were two other female candidates in the race – Sajida Mir of Pakistan People’s Party Workers (PPP-W) and Roohi Khokhar of Move on Pakistan party – but the real contest was between Dr Yasmeen and Kulsoom Nawaz.
Polling stations and camps of PTI and PML-N were seen flooded with female supporters and voters of their respective parties, while some female workers were also busy in helping the female voters to locate their votes.
“I came here with my three daughters to cast vote for Begum Kulsoom Nawaz as our whole family truly loves here,” said Bushra, a resident of Mohni Road while talking to Pakistan Today when she just came out from Government Islamia High School after casting her vote. She further added that Kulsoom used to visit this area quite often some time ago as her ancestors also lived in the neighbourhood.
“She is undergoing some treatment abroad and I wish her a speedy recovery because the female voters of the constituency want her to become the prime minister,” she said.
Razia Manzoor, a female voter at Rivaz Garden polling station, told Pakistan Today that she was more than 70 years old but still came here despite her ailment to cast vote only for Imran Khan. “I have seen many ups and downs of Pakistan’s political history and came to a conclusion that Imran Khan is the only messiah left who can pull the country out from the crisis we are facing today,” she added.
She further stated that she would personally meet Dr Yasmeen to pay her homage for giving confidence to the women of the area through her vibrant campaign, adding that she had set a great example for all the women during her door-to-door ‘awareness drive’.
During the whole campaign of NA-120 by-election, women hailing from different political parties were seen canvassing for the candidates of their parties.
The campaign of PTI was primarily run by Dr Yasmeen herself while she was assisted by other female leaders of the party including Andleeb Abbas, Musarrat Cheema and MPAs Dr Nausheen Hamid and Sadia Suhail Rana.
PML-N’s campaign was singlehandedly managed by Maryam Nawaz, Kulsoom Nawaz’s daughter, and she also got some assistance from MNA Shaista Parvez Malik, MPA Hina Parvez Butt, MPA Azma Bukhari and some other female workers.
Faiza Malik — the only female MPA of PPP from Lahore — was also seen campaigning for her party’s candidate Faisal Mir while she was also assisted by former Lahore PPP President Samina Khalid Ghurki.
A PML-N worker from Old Anarkali named Shamim Akhtar told Pakistan Today that it was a good omen for the political culture of Pakistan that two main contenders were women in NA-120, and one can hope that women’s participation in the political system will continue as well in the future.
There were 142,144 women voters out of 321,786 total voters and their representation was 44 per cent in the constituency.