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PESHAWAR: Calling the women’s participation in the July 25 election satisfactory, the District Commission on the Status of Women, Peshawar, and NGO Aurat Foundation urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to take further steps to encourage more and more women to exercise their franchise in next elections.

During a joint news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday, Aurat Foundation representative Said Afzal Shinwari and DCSW chairperson Shaheen Quresh appreciated the ECP steps for holding ‘smooth and successful election in a peaceful manner’.

Ms Quresh said the commission along with the civil society organisations sensitised women voters to participation in electoral activities.

DCSW, CSO say July 25 election held smoothly

“Our district committees properly monitored pre-election and election day processes and found them on the whole satisfactory,” she said.

Ms Quresh said the overall voter turnout remained good in the five National Assembly and 14 provincial assembly constituencies of the provincial capital.

She said the overall voter turnout was 54 per cent with the percentage of men’s participation reaching 53.9 and women’s 27.6 per cent.

“In the five National Assembly constituencies of Peshawar, the highest voter turnout of 45.83 per cent was observed in NA-27, where men voters totaled 57.87 per cent and women 28.92 per cent. The lowest turnout i.e. 40.62 per cent was recorded in NA-29, in which men’s percentage was 51.57 per cent and women’s 24.78 per cent,” she said.

The DCSW chairperson said a total of four women candidates had contested election in the five National Assembly constituencies against 38 male candidates.

She said in women candidates, PPP’s Asma Arbab Alamgir got the highest number of votes i.e. 24,002, while the lowest number of votes of 136 was secured by Sidra Qadeem.

Also, she said three women candidates contested election against 140 make candidates in 14 provincial assembly constituencies.

“The total votes of all three candidates were 178 in which Qaumi Watan Party’s Nargis Samin got only 19, the lowest number of votes in the recent election. In these constituencies, the registered voters totaled 1,693,386, including 713,615 women and 979,771 men.

The DCSW chief said the polled votes totaled 914,714, including 528,429 men’s and 197,041 women’s and that the rejected votes totaled 21,993.

Ms Quresh asked the ECP to take steps without delay for ensuring the provision of computerised national identity cards to all eligible women and removal of flaws from the system to ensure the maximum participation of women in election.

She said in the past, women rarely participated in election but it was made possible in the wake of efforts by stakeholders.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2018