Over 12mn women unlikely to vote in 2023 polls

ECP official says most people in remote areas not interested in obtaining national identity cards

More than 12 million women will not be able to cast their vote in the upcoming local bodies elections and general elections 2023.

According to sources in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), around 119 million of Pakistanis had got themselves registered on the electoral rolls but there was a big gap between the number of men and women voters.

A senior ECP official, requesting anonymity, told Minute Mirror, “We study the registration process every year to understand different trends and to find out deficiencies. Last year in October, we reviewed the number of men and women voters, noticing that there was a huge gap between the two. Around 12.37 million women did not get themselves registered on electoral rolls. We made hectic efforts to encourage women to get themselves registered but did not get much success and this year, on November 4, we found out that there were 11.81 million women who were yet to get themselves registered on electoral rolls.”

Another official of the ECP, who wished not to be named, told Minute Mirror that most of the people living in remote areas were not interested in obtaining national ID cards. The official said, “So if you do not have a national ID card you cannot cast vote. Most of the people in hilly areas are also reluctant to get themselves registered. They do not want to get education or apply for government jobs. They lead a pastoral life and they don’t obtain national ID cards.”

Analysts believe the insurgency in the tribal belt in the north west, and the separatist movement in Balochistan, also hindered the process of voter registration. Political observers have feared that if the Taliban insurgency was renewed, it would scupper the chances of registering women as voters and millions of females would be deprived of their fundamental right.

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