Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim chairing a meeting with political parties on Thursday, Sept 27, 2012.—Photo by INP

ISLAMABAD: Coalition partners in the government, the Pakistan Muslim League - Quaid (PML-Q) on Thursday ruled out the Election Commission’s proposition of at least ten per cent women’s votes in the upcoming general elections, terming it impracticable.

The EC on Wednesday, in a step towards curbing the trend of women’s disenfranchisement, had unanimously approved a draft bill providing for re-poll on polling stations where less than 10 per cent of women votes were polled. The draft bill meant to increase women participation in the electoral process and to prevent certain groups and parties entering into agreement restraining women of a particular area from exercising their right to vote.

A meeting of the commission and leading political parties was held here today chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (reted) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim. The meeting was attended by 18 political party leaders, including PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Senator Farhatullah Babar, PML-N secretary general Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, and MNA Maulana Attaur Rehman.

The meeting reviewed several steps taken for the upcoming elections, including the issue of women participation and overseas Pakistanis in polls.

Speaking to media representatives after the meeting, PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain pointed out that deliberations over an interim government had not yet been initiated. Hussain said that the Election Commission should also have operational authority.

PML-Q Secretary General Mushahid Hussain sided with providing overseas Pakistanis with the right to vote, however, he said that they should only be allowed to take part in the ballot after returning to the country.

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