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NCSW Shares Concerns on Women's Participation in Polls
Apr 08, 2013
NCSW Shares Concerns on Women’s Participation in Polls
The newly-appointed autonomous National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) had its first meeting on 8th April, 2013 wherein several administrative and strategic decisions were taken.
At the end of its meeting on Tuesday, 9th April, 2013, a Press briefing was held in which the Commission expressed its concerns on upcoming elections 2013 and shared its disappointment over the failure of political parties to agree on a minimum number of female participation (10 per cent) in a constituency for validating the poll in it. The following press release was issued to the press.
The newly appointed autonomous and independent National Commission on the Status of Women established under the NCSW Act 2012 with representatives from the four provinces, AJK, ICT, Gilgit- Baltistan, FATA and Minorities held its first meeting with Ms. Khawar Mumtaz in Chair on 8-9 April 2013. It took up issues confronting women of Pakistan and set its priority agenda where the institutionalization of the Commission, implementation of recently enacted laws and various aspects of discrimination against women were identified for focused attention.
The most immediate issue taken up by the Commission was that of women’s participation in the forthcoming elections especially in view of the threats to their participation in some areas. The Commission acknowledged that we are on the threshold of making history as this election marks the first democratic transition in Pakistan. The insecurity in some areas like the 42 No Go areas in Karachi, or prohibition of women’s voting by panchyats or clerics (in Tor Ghar and parts of Sindh) tantamount to denial of women’s democratic and constitutional right to choose their representatives. The Commission is also concerned that a large number of women in remote rural areas and urban slums have not been issued CNICS and will not be able to vote despite a strong desire to do so.
NCSW expresses its disappointment at the failure of political parties to agree on a minimum number of female participation (10%) in a constituency for validating the poll in it. It is also dismayed at the low number of tickets awarded to women on general seats by political parties. The experience of the past 5 years has demonstrated the high calibre of women parliamentarians in moving human rights and women’s rights legislation in the National Assembly and the skillful and balanced role of the female Speaker. It is an opportunity lost to not bring in high performing women legislators in the political mainstream.
NCSW salutes the brave women who have come forward to stand as independents in areas like Bajaur, Dir and as minorities in Thar. These women symbolize women’s capacity to face challenges. NCSW offers full cooperation and support to such candidates towards ensuring free and fair elections.
NCSW urges the Election Commission of Pakistan:
· to ensure the safety of women to vote without fear and not allow anyone else to determine who is entitled to vote or not.
· to set up complaint desks in sensitive constituencies to redress any violations of women’s right to vote
· to urgently announce arrangements for polling for the large number of persons of dislocated form tribal areas and currently residing in camps.
· to induct and employ female staff in the Election Commission
The Commission resolved to set up an Election Complaint Cell to receive complaints from women pre-, during and post-election process. NCSW members will join in monitoring in select areas in association with other monitors/ observers, and a delegation will meet ECP to seek resolution of its concerns.