The poll body has been tight-lipped over 15 incidents across the country in which women were barred from casting votes on May 11 by some political and religious parties, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Ten such incidents were reported in the Khanewal, Faisalabad, Sahiwal and Kasur areas of Punjab, according to a report by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).
Defending the Election Commission of Pakistan, its spokesperson Khursheed Alam said that the poll body only intervenes when approached by an aggrieved party.
However, Senator Zahid Khan of the Awami National Party (ANP) told The Express Tribune that his party had sent a letter to the ECP to bring this issue to light, but received no response.
“We want re-election in Lower Dir because women were not allowed to vote there,” he said.
The ECP official said that the ECP had ordered re-polling in the Battagram district when an aggrieved party approached it with a written complaint. But without any complaint, ECP cannot intervene directly in such matters, the official insisted.
Senator Zahid Khan also claimed that the armed forces were party to poll-rigging to favour Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Jamaat-e-Islami in Khyber-Pakhunkhwa.
He repeated his party chief’s words and said that instead of Fakhruddin G Ibrahim, the chief election commissioner, the chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud, was the referee of the 2013 elections.
In KPK, where 14 percent of the country’s voters are registered—women were barred from voting in the districts of Peshawar, Buner, Kohat and Lower Dir. One such case was reported from North Waziristan agency.
No cases of the like were reported from Balochistan and Sindh. In Sindh there are 7868258 registered female votes. In Balochistan province, there are 1217050 female voters are registered. 21,561,633 and 5,088,389 are the figures for female registered votes in Punjab and K-P respectively.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2013.