Call for making pro-women electoral reforms

Our Correspondent
Wednesday, Mar 08, 2023

Islamabad: Women legislators from the National and Sindh Assemblies have called for reforms in the legal and regulatory framework governing elections to fully realize the constitutional guarantees of women's full participation in all aspects of national life, including politics. In a rare show of cross-party unanimity, legislators representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan (MMAP) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) agreed on a range of legal and regulatory measures required to address the challenges facing women’s electoral contestation and support their graduation from the reserved seats to general seats following the spirit of reservation.

During a training workshop on the electoral framework, the women legislators urged the government, political parties, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to prioritise women-specific amendments in the Elections Act, 2017, the Election Rules, 2017, and the electoral codes of conduct to enhance the quality and inclusiveness in the upcoming general elections.

The workshop was organised by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) under its Women Leadership Development Program, which sought to support reserved-seat women legislators to contest general seats. As many as 11 MNAs including Ghazala Saifi, Munawwara Bibi Baloch, Nafeesa Inayatullah, Nusrat Wahid, Saira Bano, Shaheen Saifullah, Shahnaz Saleem, Shahida Akhtar Ali, Syma Nadeem, Uzma Riaz, Zill-e-Huma and 12 Sindh MPAs including Adeeba Hassan, Ghazala Sial, Heer Soho, Hina Dastagir, Kalsoom Akhtar, Naseem Rajpar, Shahana Ashar, Rabia Khatoon, Seema Zia, Sarwat Fatima, Shazia Umar, and Tanzila Umi Habiba participated in the workshops. Free and Fair Election Network’s (FAFEN) Chairperson Mossarat Qadeem and TDEA’s Trustee Dr. Anoosh W. Khan addressed the


The women legislators urged ECP to proactively and assertively exercise its constitutional and legal powers to hold honest, just, and fair elections as required under Article 218(3) of the Constitution. Drawing the Parliament’s attention towards a gender gap of more than 10.6 million on electoral rolls, the legislators emphasized urgent measures to enable women without National Identity Cards (NICs) to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming general elections.

They called for a one-time provision in the Elections Act, 2017 for supplemental electoral rolls comprising all eligible-age yet unregistered women identified through the population census data to enable them to vote.