LOWER DIR: Contrary to the past tradition of women disenfranchisement, a record 123,039 women exercised their right to vote in Lower Dir district in the Feb 8 elections.

An official of the local election commission office told Dawn on Tuesday that women actively participated in the electoral process in contrast to past practice. The official said that a total of 123,039 women out of 389,043 female registered voters cast their ballots in the two national and five provincial assembly constituencies in the district.

In the past, political parties used to bar women from voting in the district, where sometimes written agreements were signed among parties not to allow women to use their right of enfranchisement.

However, after the election commission declared 10 per cent women participation in each constituency mandatory, the political parties decided to let them vote.

According to official data, in the elections held on Feb 8, a total of 27,093 women cast their vote in PK-14. In PK-15, a total of 27,025 women voted.

In PK-17, 21,051 women used their right to franchise.

Similarly, in PK-18, 17,957 women cast their vote.

Social and women rights activists, including Shad Begum, Ibrash Pasha and Akbar Khan, expressed their satisfaction over the increasing role of women in the electoral process, and appreciated the Election Commission of Pakistan for ensuring women participation in polls.

Talking to Dawn, they said that gone were the days when women were barred from taking part in electoral process and decision making. The activists also appreciated the ECP’s local staff and political leadership for facilitating and motivating women to exercise their basic right.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2024

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