LAHORE: The Women Action Forum (WAF) has demanded action against political parties which did not award 5% tickets to women in the general elections. It also demanded re-poll in constituencies where women were prevented from voting.
In a statement on Monday, the WAF demanded action against the ROs who did not follow rules and led to questioning of integrity of the electoral process. It demanded FIRs against security personnel who used arms and other force against candidates or voters.
It said that on February 12, 1983, women’s organisations in Lahore defied the most repressive Martial Law by publicly protesting the discriminatory Law of Evidence. They faced lathi-charge, tear gas and arrests. The WAF established resistance and autonomy as its defining characteristics. Ever since, February 12 is observed by women as the National Women’s Day. This year, the WAF commemorates the day with a tribute to the people of Pakistan men, women and transgenders for exercising their democratic and constitutional right to choose their representatives. A special tribute is for women who won and the many who contested the polls but lost by narrow margins and those who are challenging their results due to lack of procedural transparency. The elections have demonstrated that the will of people cannot be denied; that women’s vote is critical, and voters are willing to vote them in.
The WAF is therefore appalled that only 34 out of 111 political parties fulfilled the statutory requirement of awarding at least 5 per cent tickets on general seats to women. The WAF believes in the sanctity of the vote and the right of every citizen to exercise this right and condemns the prevention of women from voting in some constituencies and the reported exclusion of transgenders in the electoral process.
The WAF is dismayed at the lack of transparency in processing of election results and use of force by the state agencies against candidates. It is shocked at the reported behaviour of ROs who used force to keep candidates away during the counting and compilation of results. The WAF condemns firing on contestant Mohsin Dawar and his colleagues that left four persons dead. It is time that the state powers as well as elected representatives moved beyond empty rhetoric and respected people’s will in real terms.