Thousands of women barred from voting
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: Hundreds of thousands of women in various NWFP union councils (UCs) will be stopped from voting in the upcoming local council elections despite pressure by the Election Commission and government on jirgas to allow women to participate in the polls, Geo news channel reported on Tuesday.
Tribal elder Haji Rahat Hussain said agreements to bar women from contesting and voting in the local council elections were signed by male candidates including nazims and naib nazims with a view to maintain law and order, the channel reported. “Traditionally, our women have always stayed away from elections and they are not even ready to step out of their homes,” he told Geo.
However, nazim candidate Muhammad Zahoor criticised the jirgas for stopping women from voting, saying, “We are against such autocratic decisions.” The NWFP union councils where women would not be able to vote include Sher Khan, Bhanamari, Hazarkhani, Shab-e-Qadar, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Battagram, Kohistan and Swat, Geo reported.
Social worker Rakhsanda Naz called such decisions deplorable and asked the EC and government to intervene and take action to ensure women participated in the local council elections in the NWFP.