DIR: The women in Upper Dir district exercised their constitutional right to vote after more than four decades in the by-election for four local government seats on Thursday.
Pakistan People's Party (PPP) clinched all the four seats, including two tehsil and one general and one youth seats. The tehsil councillor seat of Gawaldi Union Council was retained by PPP's Anar Gul, who had also won it in last year's by-election.
According to unofficial results, PPP's Anar Gul got 1,819 votes against 944 of Dawood Shah. In Darora, PPP candidate Engineer Saifullah defeated his arch rival Izaz Ali Shah of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) by securing 1,498 votes. The JI candidate managed to get 1,120 votes. The JI's Izaz Ali Shah had defeated the PPP's Saifullah in the previous by-election. The village council Chukiatan's general councillor seat was alsoclinched by the PPP candidate Sadiqullah. The village council Dir Khas youth council seat was also won by the PPP candidate.
On these four seats, the previous by-elections were declared null and void by the Election Commission of Pakistan due to disenfranchisement of women. The female voters couldn't vote as the local politicians, elders and candidates, all of them male, had made an agreement that women won't be allowed to vote.
A women voter said that it was indeed a historic moment for them to be able to vote. She said the women were thankful to the ECP for providing them an opportunity to cast their votes. The ECP had made special arrangements for voting by women. It had established separate polling stations for women in various areas in Gawaldi, Darora, Chukiatan and Dir Khas.
The district election commissioner, Amjad Ali, said that they had established seven polling stations for women in Darora Union Council, five in Gawaldi and two each in Chukiatan and Dir Khas.