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January 22, 2020

‘Women’s political representation decreasing in Pakistan’

Lahore

January 22, 2020

LAHORE:Women’s political representation is decreasing not only in the national and provincial assemblies but also in local government institutions.

These views were expressed by speakers at a conference “Punjab Local Government Laws and Women Political Participation”, organised by an NGO. A large number of women and representatives of civil society joined the event. Bushra Khaliq of the NGO said the highest ratio of women representation in the National Assembly of Pakistan was 22pc in 2008-13. In the present assemblies it is around 19pc. There is no woman representation in provincial cabinets of KP and Balochistan.

There are two women in the 27-member central executive committee of the PML-N, one member in 21-member CEC of the PTI, five women in 35-member CEC of the PPP, one woman in 19-member PML-Q CEC, two women in MQM’s 35-member committee and two women in 12-member CEC of ANP.

Zahid Islam, an expert on local government, said the ratio of women representation at different tiers had been further reduced in the new Punjab Local Government Act 2019.

Tanveer Jehan said it was high time women reclaimed their space in inclusive democracy. Imtiaz Arif, Director Local Govt. and Community Development, said different suggestions were under consideration to bridge the vertical gap between two LG laws and interconnect them. Zafarullah Khan, an expert on constitution, said it was unfortunate that the LG system was changed every five years by the ruling party without taking people into confidence.

Mubineen Uddin Qazi, a Supreme Court lawyer, said the purpose of the new LG laws was to consolidate the administrative domination of the bureaucracy in local government affairs. Wilson Lee of Endowment Fund for Democracy said the local government system helps new political leaders to grow, marginalised peoples to join the local level structures of governance and ensures the provision of much need municipal services to communities. The importance of the LG system further increases when democracies come under threats. LG systems help stable and deepen democracy in societies, he added.