Pak court orders re-polling after ban on women voters
Islamabad: A court on Monday ordered re-polling in all polling stations where women were barred from voting in last week`s by-elections in Pakistan`s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The order was given by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, Express News reported. Election Commission of Pakistan had earlier decided to conduct re-polls in two constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following reports of women being barred from voting in the constituencies.
According to ECP officials, the commission will hold re-polling at nine polling stations each in NA-5 Nowshera-I and NA-27 Lakki Marwat.
Officials said the date for the re-polls will be decided later. Local elders had imposed a ban on women voters in the some of the constituencies, reportedly after reaching an understanding with local political leaders and candidates for the seats.
Justifying the ban, the elders said allowing women to leave their houses to vote would violate their cultural norms, the report said.
Around 16,000 women in Nowshera were deprived of their voting rights as despite the efforts of senior local administration officials to convince them otherwise, local elders stood firm on their decision.
While the Nowshera deputy commissioner and DPO offered to provide transport for woman voters, their offer was rejected by the elders in the district.
Although 63 of the 128 polling stations in Lakki Marwat had been reserved for women, they too could not leave their houses to vote due to a ban announced by local elders.
Talking to reporters, former district nazim, Muhammad Bashir said the decision to impose the ban was made jointly by the elders and political leaders of the district.
However, women in the Nawar Khel area of Lakki Marwat were allowed to vote following a protest by the workers and supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the locality.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak ordered an inquiry following reports of the ban on women voters.
Peshawar High Court Chief Justice took notice of the reports as well and directed concerned officials to take necessary steps to ensure women could exercise their voting rights.
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