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GHALANAI: Voters in Mohmand region say they will allow their women family members to vote in the general elections if separate polling stations are established for them.

Hairan Momand, a resident of Atto Khel area of Haleemzai tehsil, said that women had the right to vote, but it would also depend on the security situation of the area.

The women can only cast their votes if the government provides proper security to them, he added.

The Mohmand region has 96,679 registered women voters compared with 158,873 men.

They face many obstacles in casting their votes and becoming involved in political activities in the region.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has made it mandatory on the political parties to ensure 10 per cent of women vote to save the election from being declared invalid.

Gulono, 55, a resident of Haleemzai tehsil, said she would like to vote if separate women polling stations were set up for them.

“There is no restriction on women in our society,” she said, adding many women voted in the last elections in 2013.

Malik Saifullah, a tribal elder, said, “If a man can cast his vote, then why should we prevent our women from casting their votes.” In the coming election, he said, women would vote in Haleemzai, Ekkaghund, Pandiali and Prang Ghar tehsils because local people were well-educated and knew the importance of ballot.

Rozeena Bibi, another woman, said that she was aware about the importance of vote, and if the government provided a peaceful environment, then women would be able to exercise their right to franchise.

She added that tribal customs did not allow some women to vote, but for this election, local tribal and political leaders were on the same page that women should vote.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2018