ISLAMABAD, Dec 25: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) does not have biometric record of as many as 3.72 million women voters.
According to Nadra’s district-wise data, Punjab tops the list where fingerprints and photographs of more than 2.62 million women have not been made available to the registration authority.
In Rawalpindi tehsil alone, out of 1.4 million registered voters, Nadra does not have the biometric record of 45,461 women.
In the federal capital, a city with less outreach problems and most literate people, 14,228 women are without biometrics.
Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen), a conglomeration of 30 non-governmental organisations, also found it strange.
Fafen’s Chief Coordinator Mudassir Rizvi said: “Biometrics rule cannot be relaxed in the presence of female staff assisting women even in remote areas.”
However, Nadra said in its statement that relaxation had been provided to women against provisioning of their photographs considering social values.
“Withdrawal of this relaxation may exclude a significant number of women from voters list resulting in disenfranchisement. However, it can be withdrawn if Senate Standing Committee decides so. But it is not recommended by Nadra,” the registration authority said in the statement.
According to a senior official in National Database and Registration Authority, any female applicant who opted not to provide her photograph for CNIC would be instead verified in detail in the database.
This included scrutinising her family linkages, attestation and processing fingerprints. Still, as many as 70,000 women would have to go through this process in Lahore Cantt alone and close to 52,000 in Lahore City.
In Sialkot 45,228 women are without biometric authentication, more than 50,000 in Gujranwala, and 39,682 in Gujrat.
In Sindh, 540,000 women are without biometric authentication. Out of more than 3.3 million total voters in Balochistan there were 170,578 women voters without biometrics.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the highest number of women voters who have not provided biometrics were in Peshawar (32,107) followed by Abbotabad (21,629) and Mansehra (17,105).