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December 3, 2016

Seminar on inclusion of persons with disabilities in electoral process held

National

 
December 3, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday organized a daylong seminar on inclusion of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

The seminar was arranged to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The event was an initiative of the ECP’s Gender and Disability Electoral Working Group with an aim to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

Addressing the seminar, the ECP chief, Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, said inclusive elections were fair elections where every citizen, including persons with disabilities, was able to play his or her role. The CEC referred to the equality of all citizens under Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The Secretary of ECP, Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, said that the ECP was striving to create a conducive environment for the marginalized groups for equal representation and participation in the electoral process. He said the ECP welcomed partners both from within and outside the country to work along with the ECP to promote inclusive elections.

He said the ECP was planning to have all the polling stations accessible in the next general elections. Head of DFID, Joanna Reid, congratulated the ECP for organizing this event and said that the UK remained committed to supporting the social and economic development of Pakistan.

She said participation in the electoral and political process was crucial for persons with disabilities to have a voice in the decision making process. Joanna Reid said, “We must continue to work together to ensure that all persons with disabilities who are of voting age are registered as voters and have access to voting.”

Other speakers highlighted the evolution of disability rights movement in the international context and referred to the various recommendations of the civil society. They said inclusion should be at the core of election planning and implementation.