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Arrangements for female voters termed insufficient

May 14, 2013

PESHAWAR, May 13: Speakers at a seminar on Monday assailed the authorities concerned for not making proper arrangements to facilitate women voters in polling stations.

The seminar titled ‘observation report on female polling stations’ was arranged by Aware Girls, a non-governmental organisation, at Peshawar Press Club on Monday. Prominent among the speakers were Gulalai Ismail, Memona Ijaz and Kiran Fida.

Sharing the data the NGO had collected during an election survey on three districts, including Mardan, Swabi and Peshawar, they said that there was no facility for the women voters who faced great difficulties in getting transportation, availability of drinking water and security.

They said that in Peshawar the lowest female voters turnout was 24 per cent and the highest turnout was 69 per cent.

In Swabi, the lowest turnout was 20 per cent and in Mardan the lowest turnout was 6.8 per cent. They added during visits to 23 polling stations it was witnessed that at some polling stations women presence was zero.

In Mardan and Swabi, they said candidates had armed men who barred women from casting votes in support of the opponent candidates. At some places, they said workers of different parties allowed the voters after taking oath to support certain candidates.

“Election camps were set up closed to the polling stations where the illegal practice of bribing and forcing the voters continued the whole day,” they alleged, saying women were not given chance to stamp symbols of their own choice.

The NGO officials informed that the area specified for women at the polling stations was also insufficient. Similarly, they said in some areas the election staff was not well equipped and well skilled and that was why they faced problems in dealing with the people during rush hours.