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January 25, 2019

ECP to start campaign for women voters’ registration in tribal districts: official

National

January 25, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would soon start a drive for provision of CNICs and registration of women voters in the merged tribal districts for the upcoming elections on the 16 general seats allocated for the erstwhile Fata in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, officials said on Thursday.

“We are going to start phase-II of women’s NIC/voter registration strategy in tribal districts for reducing the gender gap and improving turnout in the upcoming elections,” Nighat Siddique, additional director general-gender affairs ECP, told The News.

Pointing out that this would be a difficult job, she said the ECP would achieve this goal with the assistance of civil society organisations, students and academia.

Earlier, in her presentation on “Gender Affairs Activities” in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at an awareness-raising session with students, she explained that the ECP Gender Wing had registered 4.3 million women voters in phase-I of the Women NIC/voter registration strategy before the July 25, 2018 general election.

She noted that despite registration of women voters their turnout was discouraging in the 2018 general election.

About the gender gap, she stated that there were more than 108 million registered voters in Pakistan, including 60.75 million male and 47.75 million female. She informed that presently there is gender gap of 12.99 million voters in Pakistan.

Nighat Siddiqui said the main propose of the programme is to reduce the gender gap and improve turnout of women voters in the next general elections.

Presenting the report, she said that before the 2018 general election the ECP created a Gender and Disability Electoral Working Group with aim to mainstream women, persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups in the electoral process.

About the steps taken during the general election, she explained that a special female complaint centre was established under the supervision of Director Gender Affairs in the office of the Provincial Election Commission, KP on polling day for receiving and speedy disposal of complaints. She claimed all complaints were disposed of successfully.

She said that 25 transgender persons were issued observation cards to monitor the election. She added that another 5,300 observation cards were issued to CSOs and Gender and Working Group, ECP KP members.

ECP’s Gender Affairs Director General Haroon Khan Shinwari and focal person Sohail Ahmad also highlighted the efforts of ECP for reducing gender gap in registration and turnout of the women voters in the general elections.

In his address as chief guest at the programme, Provincial Election Commissioner Pir Maqbool Ahmad said that registration and turnout of women voters would increase through awareness-raising programmes at universities and colleges in the province.

He said the role of teachers, professors, principals and vice-chancellors is very important in the awareness campaign for registration of women voters and ensuring a higher turnout in the polls. He thanked the academia for becoming members of the gender working group to play their role in this effort.

The United Nations Development Programme’s Chief Technical Advisor Darren Nance and Mukhtar Ali, senior programme advisor of Tabeer-Consolidating Democracy in Pakistan, appreciated the ECP’s efforts for establishing the Gender and Disability Electoral Working Group for reducing the gender gap of male and female voters and resolving issues of other marginalised groups.

A large number of people belonging to the academia and civil society organisations attended the programme.

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