ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has assured Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) that his government would ensure equal participation of women and marginalised segments in the democratic process for which special legislative framework is on the cards.
Nawaz Sharif, in his capacity as president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, wrote a letter to Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan and apprised him that the government intends to include some special sections in the proposed electoral laws bill, 2017 to make sure that all women eligible to vote get registered as voters.
CEC through a letter on January 23, asked heads of all mainstream parties to make sure women and marginalised segments get fair chance of participation in the electoral process.
In the updated electoral rolls, the gap between men and women registered voters has crossed 12 million which is a question mark for authorities.
“Specific legislative proposals are being incorporated in the draft Election Bill, 2017; its proposed section 47 specifically provides for gender inclusion in the process under the caption; ‘special measures for enrollment of women voters”, reads PM’s letter a copy of which was shared with the media by ECP on Monday.
There is a proposal under consideration to cancel results of any constituency where less than 10 per cent women votes are cast. However, some mainstream political parties are averse to this proposal and want this percentage to be lowered.
Another proposal was to specify quota of women in allocation of party tickets for the general seats. The proposal came under discussion of parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, however it is not clear if it would be included in the final draft of election bill.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2017.