What Bangalore needs to learn from Pak women, how to vote

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New Delhi, May 5: Pakistan is a country, which has elements that shoot those seeking their rights like Malala Yousafzai, there is movement to make women voters cast votes on May 11. But India and the so called literate city of Bangalore refuses to use the right to vote.

Women constitute nearly 50 percent of Pakistan's population but only 43.5 percent are registered voters. This is the country that also had a woman prime minister.

Now, there are a dozens of organizations, including the Election Commission of Pakistan, working to inform women about their right to vote, encourage them to sign up for national ID cards, and educate men and women about women's rights and their equal status in society.

One of the activist is Sidra Ali from SAPPK's (South Asia Partnership Pakistan) Voice and Accountability program. She is going door-to-door in Charsadda, a village in the northwest of Pakistan, urging woman who have ID cards to make the trip to one of the estimated 18,000 women's polling stations on May 11.

Even the Pakistan Ulema Council attempted to counter the perception that voting was un-Islamic. The council issued a fatwa (religious decree) last month declaring voting a "religious responsibility" for both male and female.

The Taliban threats and cultural barriers hamper women's participation in the elections. However, the Election Commission of Pakistan is confident that its new measures will ensure women are allowed to vote.

The Election Commission had proposed a law in September, seeking an amendment in the Representation of People Act of 1976 to make it compulsory for every polling station to have at least 10 percent of the total votes cast by women for their results to be considered valid.

But the proposal was rejected by the political parties. Their argument was that the ongoing war against militancy would affect its implementation.

The National Commission on the Status of Women had criticized the politicians for not being able to agree on a minimum essential female participation.

In a report, the Free and Fair Election Network also asked the Election Commission to cancel the results of constituencies where women are prevented from voting.

However, the current elections are creating may firsts for Pakistan, struggling to stay as a democracy. This election saw many candidates being disqualified because they did not know a Quranic verse, the Election Commission has played by the rule book, and the judiciary has taken up the role as an ‘active' observer.

Compare this with what Bangalore public did to the democracy. They shamelessly avoided voting, which the women of Pakistan are fighting to get.

OneIndia News

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