PESHAWAR, July 18: The Aurat Foundation held a protest camp in front of the press club here on Monday to condemn the move to disenfranchise women in Lower Dir. Leaders and workers of political parties and civil rights activists visited the camp to express resentment against the steps being taken to bar women from participating in the local government election.

They demanded that the Election Commission take notice of the agreement struck by parties in Lower Dir to keep women out of the electoral exercise.

“It is strange that despite the fact that the polls are being held on non-party basis, the local chapters of the parties have moved to stop women of Lower Dir from taking part in the local government election, which is a negation of democratic rights of women,” they said.

The protesters welcomed the announcements made by the central leadership of different parties on the issue but termed it insufficient.

The parties should ask their leadership in Lower Dir to publicly denounce women’s disenfranchisement, they stressed.

They urged the administration in all the districts of the province to act in an impartial manner and create an enabling environment so that all the citizens, including women, could freely use their voting right.

Pakistan Muslim League MPA Nighat Yasmeen Orakzai, NWFP PML (Nawaz) Additional General Secretary Haji Mohammad Afzal, Awami Nation al Party women’s wing leader Bushra Gohar, Gandhara Hindko Board Vice-Chairman Dr Adnan Gul, provincial Human Rights Commission Coordinator Tariq Ahmad Khan, Peshawar Press Club President Mohammad Riaz and others visited the camp.

Local leaders of various political parties in Lower Dir had on July 13 decided to keep women out of the election.

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