Commissioners told to check curbs on women voters

Saturday, April 27th, 2013 3:30:02 by

PESHAWAR, April 26: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has issued directives to the all divisional commissioners in the province to engage with elders, prayer leaders and civil society activists in their respective areas to prevent denial of the right of vote to women in the May 11 election.

This was stated by provincial information, social welfare and women development minister Musarrat Qadeem here on Friday during a Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa function.

The function was organised to consult stakeholders from government and civil society on the Election Commission of Pakistan measures to improve the women’s participation in the election and monitor restriction for women voters for action by the relevant authorities.

National Commission on the Status of Women Chairwoman Khawar Mumtaz, PCSW Chairwomen Zubeida Khatoon, and representatives of government departments and civil society organisations were in attendance.

The minister said a poster had been made for public awareness of penalties for violation of the ECP code of conduct and that a communication strategy in this respect had also been made.

The PCSW chairwoman highlighted the significance of the event, while the NCSW chairwoman shed light on the role of the commission.

She also said NCSW had signed a memorandum of understanding with Free and Fair Election Network for election monitoring and establishment of a complaint cell on its premises for receiving complaints.

The NCSW chairwoman said the election-related complaints could be filed with the commission directly or through PCSW. She said the complaint cell was available online, too.

She said NCSW and PCSW would closely monitor the May 11 election, especially violation of the code of conduct.

A representative of ECP highlighted the ECP measures for better voter turnout.

He said ECP would facilitate issuance of accreditation cards to NCSW and PCSW observers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for monitoring of election.

According to him, ECP has set up 53 polling stations for women in the province and that security and government officials have been trained on how to report complaints about restrictions for women voters.

He said two monitors would be present in every constituency and report to returning officers in case women were stopped from exercising their right of vote.

During the discussion, some participants demanded that PCSW set up a committee to monitor election-based violence.

A representative of Fafen said his organisation had engaged 44,000 monitors for the upcoming election.

Peshawar News Sources

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