Women barred from voting in Shangla by-election

The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) is appalled that women were yet again not allowed to vote in the by-polls held in Shangla.

As reported in the press, under an agreement between all contesting parties, women were barred from casting their votes. There were 14 polling stations specifically designated for women, but according to Election Commission officials, not a single vote was cast there.

The District Returning Officer for these by-polls in his statement said that all arrangements were completed at all 14 polling stations and the polling staff was standing by, but not a single woman turned up to cast her vote. According to him, the Election Commission officials held talks with the local elders and the political parties’ representatives to convince them to allow the women to vote, but to no avail.

This practice has been going on for years, and it is time that firm action was taken, if democracy is to be strengthened in the country. Election results that reflect the will of only half the electorate cannot be considered free, fair and democratic. The results of the Shangla by-elections may have been different if women had been allowed to vote. It is extremely regrettable that though women have 17% representation in the assemblies, women in Shangla were not allowed to participate in this election.

The NCSW strongly condemns this blatant flouting of the law and demand that the Shangla by-polls be declared null and void.

According to The News dated of 30th Jan 2011, six persons contested the provincial assembly by-polls in Shangla. ANP’s candidate was Mohammad Yar Khan supported by the ruling PPP. JUI (F) was represented by Maulana Rahat Huissain and Jamaat Islami by Mr Fida Mohammad. Mohammad Rashid Khan of PML (Q) reportedly won the elections.

With greatest wishes
Tahira Noor
Manager, Media/Communication/Advocacy
National Commission on the Status of Women-Pakistan
Government of Pakistan
House 39, Street 56, Sector F-6/4
Islamabad – Pakistan 44000
Phone: +92-51-9224875,9209885
Fax: +92-51-9224877


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