Voting trends reveal decrease in number of women winning on general seats

Published: August 3, 2018
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Women, clad in burqas, stand in line to cast their ballot at a polling station during general election in Peshawar.PHOTO: REUTERS

Women, clad in burqas, stand in line to cast their ballot at a polling station during general election in Peshawar.PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: There has been no significant improvement in the number of successful women candidates in the July 25 vote despite a law that binds political parties to award five per cent tickets to women.

According to the record of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), only eight women candidates could make it to the National Assembly out of which the majority belongs to Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP).

PPPP’s Nafisa Shah from NA-208, Shazia Marri from NA-216 and Shams un Nisa from NA-232 won the National Assembly seats. The party fielded the candidates from the Sindh province.

Grand Democratic Alliance’s (GDA) Fehimda Mirza won the election from NA-230 while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) Zartaj Gul won the election from NA-191 and Ghulam Bibi won from NA-115.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Mehnaz Akbar Aziz won the general election from NA-77. She is the only woman contender of the party who secured victory on the general seat in the recently concluded election.

Reserved seats for women and the elite’s hold on them

Zubaida Jalal of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) also won against her male counterparts from NA-271. She is the only woman contender who made it to the National Assembly from Balochistan.

Shams un Nisa secured the maximum votes as a successful female contender with the total tally of 152,700 votes. Meanwhile, Mehnaz Akber Khan secured 106,592 votes, Ghulam Bibi received 91,714 votes, Zartaj Gul secured 79,932 votes, Nafisa Shah secured 107,978 votes, Shazia Marri got 80,770 votes, Fehmida Mirza secured 96,875 votes and Zubaida Jalal secured 33,462 votes.

There were 5,678 ticket holders of almost 94 political parties for the National and the four provincial Assemblies out of a total 11,885 candidates. There were only 305 female candidates, which was barely 5.2 per cent of the total ticket holders contesting from political parties.

Moreover, almost 45 per cent of the political parties, which participated in the July 25 elections, did not field a single female candidate.

In the 2008 general elections, 64 women contested on general seats out of which a record 16 won. With 60 reserved seats, 76 women became part of the National Assembly constituting 22.2 per cent of the total membership of the house.

Parties nominate women candidates on hard to win seats

In the 2013 general elections, only nine female candidates could win out of the 161 women contesting on general seats for the lower house of parliament. This reduced the women strength to 70 or 20.5 per cent in the National Assembly. However, the women candidates were not successful on the general seats as anticipated keeping in view their five per cent quota for the general election. With 60 reserved seats, their tally would reach to 68 in the National Assembly.

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