PESHAWAR: In order to avoid action due to the mandatory provision of five percent tickets to women candidates on the general seats, the major political parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have fielded more female contestants than during previous elections.
However, most of the women candidates have been fielded to contest for the national and provincial assembly seats where there is less or no chance of winning.
As per the final lists of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has fielded women candidates in conservative areas, including Upper Dir, Kohistan and Mansehra, where in the past the political parties' candidates had even banned women's voting through written or verbal agreements.
The PTI has fielded Hameeda Shahid on PK-10 Upper Dir, where the women were barred from casting votes in the 2013 general election.
The PTI has also fielded a female candidate Sidra Khalid on PK-26 Lower Kohistan, which is the most conservative district in the province.
Observers said that females were not allowed to leave the house for performing basis functions what to speak of running an election campaign in some of these remote places.
Maria Fatima is contesting election from PK-30 Mansehra, Zahida Sabeel from PK-34 Mansehra and Saima Khalid from PK-42 Haripur on the PTI tickets.
Interestingly, the Awami National Party (ANP) has fielded all its women candidates on constituencies in Hazara division, where the party has no chance to win a seat.
The ANP has fielded Rubina Zahid from PK-36 Abbottabad, Rukhsana Bibi from PK-37 Abbottabad, Bibi Shehnaz Raja from PK-38 Abbottabad, Farzana Shaheen from PK-40 Haripur, and Saira Saeed from PK-41 Haripur. Irum Fatima has been put by the party to contest for the National Assembly seat NA-17 Haripur.
The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has also awarded tickets to female candidates in those constituencies where there is no chance of winning. The only exception is one of the party's central leaders Asma Alamgir, who is contesting election on NA-27 Peshawar and working hard to make an impact against strong candidates such as PTI's Noor Alam Khan and MMA's Ghulam Ali.
The other PPP women candidates have been awarded tickets in the conservative areas of southern districts of the province. The PPP fielded Syeda Yasmin Safdar on PK-88 Bannu, Mehr Sultana from PK-89 Bannu, Farzana Shireen from PK-91 Lakki Marwat, Khurshid Bibi from PK-98 Dera Ismail Khan and Shazia Tehmas on PK-38 Abbottabad.
The party has also fielded Shaista Naz on the NA-17 seat and Syeda Yasmin Safdar on NA-35 Bannu.
Interestingly, the MMA has fielded only two women candidates for the provincial assembly seats in KP. They include Razia Jafri on PK-40 Haripur, and Farzana Rehan on PK-41 Haripur.
The MMA has to fulfil the ECP's five percent requirement and has, therefore, fielded 13 women candidates on general seats of National Assembly in other provinces, mostly from Punjab.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has also awarded tickets to women candidates in those constituencies where the party is not popular.
It candidates are Sumera Khan contesting election on PK-58 Charsadda, Farah Khan from PK-60 Charsadda, Sobia Shahid from NA-7 Lower Dir where JI chief Sirajul Haq is also contesting, and Tahira Bukhari form NA-23 Charsadda where she is facing Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Sherpao.
The QWP has awarded ticket of PK-37 Abbottabad, to Rabia Gul, PK-51 Mardan, to Imtiaz Bibi and PK-72 Peshawar, to Nargis Sameen.
The Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan has fielded two women candidates for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seats. They are Saima Shehzad on PK-77 Peshawar and Qasma Shaheen on PK-39 Abbottabad. Its third female candidate is Yasmin contesting from NA-31 Peshawar against ANP's Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and PTI's Shaukat Ali.
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