TIMERGARA, Sept 17: Representatives of non-governmental organisations in Lower Dir on Monday vowed to take every step to ensure that women in Lower Dir are given right to vote in the next elections.

Speaking at a news conference at the Timergara Press Club, a group of NGOs’ representatives led by Akbar Khan alleged all political and religious parties had been responsible for barring women from voting in Dir in the past.

They said whenever elections drew near the political leadership in the district inked a deal not to allow women to cast votes, regretting that women formed half the population of the country and participating in political process was their basic human right.

“Women should be allowed to contest and cast votes in election on their own free will,” demanded Akbar Khan, saying barring them from the process was a clear violation of their rights.

The group announced it would not remain silent on the issue in future and would take it even to the courts and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

It demanded of the government and ECP to ensure women participation in elections in Dir and declare the results of the polling stations as null and void where women participation proved less than 10 per cent of the total votes cast. It also demanded of the government to form separate polling stations for women in the region.

DEATH ANNIVERSARY:  A youth organisation, Nonviolence and Peace-building Network (NPN), arranged a ceremony on Monday to mark the first death anniversary of Sher Mohammad Khan, who lost life on September 13, 2011 in a bomb blast. He was a non-violent soldier of Islam and true follower of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan). The ceremony was held in his native Maidan Bandi village. The NPN has been working for peace and ending violence in the Malakand region.

The event was held to pay tribute to Sher Mohammad’s selfless services for the community and for establishing peace and harmony in the conflict zone.

Quran Khawani was held for his departed soul. The youth of his native village shared their views and experiences on his services for the community.

DEATH TOLL: Another victim of the Munda bomb blast succumbed to injuries at the district headquarters hospital Timergara on Monday raising the death toll to 17. While police claimed to have arrested 30 suspects for interrogation from the area.

PROTEST: Members of the district press club took out a protest procession on Monday against the incident of setting the Wari Uppr Dir Press Club on fire by a mob. Led by president Hanifullah, the protesters marched on the road and chanted slogans against the people involved in burning of the press club.

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