SWABI, July 19: Only 50 women candidates filed nomination papers for 56 union councils of the district on Monday and Tuesday. However, non-governmental organizations and political parties hoped more women would file their nomination papers on the last day (Wednesday). Insiders told Dawn that the situation would not be much different from the previous local bodies elections because this time leaders of religious parties were contesting the election.

During the previous election, women had been barred from either contesting the elections or polling their votes due to restrictions imposed on them by a jirga and local groups.

An NGO, the Aurat Foundation, has set up two camps, one in Swabi tehsil and another in Chota Lahor tehsil, to ensure maximum participation of women in the elections and also to facilitate female candidates in filing their nomination papers.

An AF worker, Roohal Amin, said they had contacted women in various union councils who expressed willingness to file their nomination papers. He said that the forthcoming elections would be totally different from the previous elections as this time more women would come up to contest the polls.

He said the MMA leaders were also encouraging women to participate in the elections and the religious parties would also field women candidates.

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