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Women in Pak's conservative parts vote for the first time

Source: PTI
July 26, 2018 23:42 IST
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IMAGE: Women clad in burqas stand in line to cast their ballot at a polling station during general election in Peshawar. Photograph: Fayaz Aziz/Reuters

For the first time in Pakistan's electoral history, women in some conservative parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces cast their votes in the general elections as candidates sought to fulfil the legal requirement of minimum 10 per cent women's turnout to validate their result.

In the restive Balochistan, too, women came out in large numbers to vote on Wednesday despite terror attacks and repeated threats, the Dawn reported.

Women in tribal areas and other conservative areas had been barred from voting in the past general elections, as the practice of keeping women away from voting was a norm under verbal and written agreements between candidates and family elders in such areas.


However, for the first time, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) annulled the result of Dir Lower bypolls in 2015 after finding that none of the registered women voters had cast votes.

The Elections Act requires the ECP to declare an election null and void if women's turnout in a constituency is less than 10 per cent of its total polled votes.

On Wednesday, candidates and local administration on ECP directives ensured at least 10 per cent turnout of women voters in the districts notorious for barring women from voting.

The measures encouraged women voters not only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Dir Lower but also in a village of Punjab's Sahiwal district to visit their respective polling stations and cast their vote.

In North Waziristan, Bajaur and other far-flung parts of Mohmand tribal agency also saw a rise in female voters' turnout despite lack of facilities and slow polling process.

Considering past voting trends in the conservative parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ECP had issued directives to district returning officers and deputy commissioners to ensure women's voting in six districts namely Swat, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Shangla, Swabi and Batagram.

PPP's Mahesh Malani becomes 1st Hindu to win NA seat from Tharparkar in Sindh

Mahesh Kumar Malani of Pakistan Peoples Party on Thursday became the first Hindu to win the National Assembly seat from Tharparkar in southern Sindh province.

Malani, the 55-year-old minority community leader, defeated his nearest rival Arab Zakaullah of the Grand Democratic Alliance in the NA-222 constituency.

He secured 37,245 votes while Zakaullah received 18,323 votes, the Express Tribune reported.

Malani, a Pakistani Hindu Rajasthani Pushkarna Brahamin politician, was a member of parliament from 2003-08 on a reserved seat, nominated by the PPP.

In 2013 general elections, Malani was elected as Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) in Sindh.

Pak PM house to be converted into public space: Imran

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, who is set to become Pakistan's premier, on Thursday said he will not live in the official residence of the prime minister and the 'lavish' house will be converted into a public space like an educational institution.

The 65-year-old PTI chief promised to make Pakistan free of the perpetual rich-getting-richer and poor-getting-poorer cycle and said that 'change has to come from the top'.

"Our government will decide what we will do with PM House. I would be ashamed to live in such a lavish house. That house will be converted into an educational institution or something of the sort for the welfare of the people," he said.

"I will live humbly," he said, promising to end the VIP culture.

"So far we have seen that everyone who comes to power changes. That will not happen with me."

"I decided to join politics 22 years back when I saw collapse of governance system and corruption in Pakistan," the cricketer-turned-politician said.

"I want to clarify why I entered politics. Politics could not have given me anything. I wanted Pakistan to become the country that my leader Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had dreamed of," he said.

The Oxford-educated Pasthun, who is believed to have the backing of the powerful military, has vowed to make a 'Naya Pakistan' which would be an Islamic welfare state.

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