‘Barring women from voting tantamount to organised rigging’


Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Justice and Human Rights Ashtar Ausaf Ali Sunday said that barring women from casting vote in Lower Dir election was tantamount to an organised rigging and the government was considering legislation to avert recurrence of such practice.

“Why did Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf not act to provide justice to women? Isn’t it our failure? Isn’t it injustice with women? It was very unfortunate to deprive women of their right to vote,” said the special assistant to the PM while talking to Pakistan Television. He said there was a need to sensitize the people on the issue and action should be taken against those involved in such acts.

“I would have ordered re-election in the constituency, had it been under my purview,” Ausaf said, adding neither the women nor men could be banned from casting votes.

To a question, he said the government would soon come up with a comprehensive legal reforms package and that people would see a positive and pro-active change in this regard.

He said soon, all of the country’s laws would be available in simple Urdu language for the benefit of the people and the Supreme Court had also given its consent in this regard.

He said Article 225 of the Constitution called for taking the election matters only to election tribunals. The formation of the judicial commission was an intricate matter as it was not obligatory but it was formed by the government to examine the PTI’s rigging allegations.

To a question whether the commission was contradictory to the Constitution, he said the matter was sub-judice and the court would decide its legitimacy.

Regarding the election tribunal’s decision on NA-125 election, Ausaf said neither the organised rigging nor the involvement of Khawaja Saad Rafique to rig the poll could be proved, but he was punished on the basis that the election staff was not trained. The polling officers were also changed on the PTI’s demand, he said.