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Governor suggests criminalising female voter suppression

By our correspondents
December 08, 2016

To mark the National Voters’ Day, Sindh Governor Justice (retd) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui on Wednesday called for adopting laws to criminalise the act of stopping women from casting their votes in general elections.

The Sindh governor stated so in his message, read out at a seminar, organised by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), held at the Governor House.

The message was read out by the governor’s Military Secretary, Brig Aqeel Nisar.

The Sindh Governor said result of any electoral constituency should be withheld under the law where turnout of female voters remained below the bare minimum ratio.

Justice (retd) Zaman said members of religious minorities, women and other underprivileged communities should be given equal opportunity to partake in electoral exercise.

Appreciating ECP’s steps, the governor said ECP’s efforts to this effect were praiseworthy; he also acknowledged election commission’s steps taken for the training of polling staff, ensuring transparency in the electoral exercise, including supply of balloting material, selection of polling stations, and provision of security to polling areas.

The governor observed that Karachi was host to a large number of people who migrate from their native areas to earn livelihoods, for which he urged Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) to facilitate timely issuance of computerised national identity cards to such voters.

He said the government would provide all out support to the ECP, so that it could hold the polling process in the country in the most transparent, independent manner.

He said the citizens should duly take part in the polling exercise considering it their national duty, as it was the polling process due to which governments were formed while the country and its democratic process also progressed.

He said that due legislation should be adopted for promoting awareness among masses regarding the importance of the electoral exercise so the people could participate in large numbers.

Provincial Election Commissioner Tanveer Zaki and ECP member Abdul Ghaffar Soomro also spoke at the event.