ECP takes series of measures to ensure maximum turnout of women in polls 2018

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KARACHI: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken series of measures to enhance the turn-out of female voters along with senior citizens, people with disabilities and transgenders during national polls scheduled for July 25 this year.

ECP Additional Director General of Gender, Nighat Siddiqui while talking to APP said that the commission is fully conscious of several systematic and cultural challenges faced by the above-mentioned segments and has ensured sensitised training of no less than 850,000 polling staff assigned to facilitate the process.

“The training of polling staffers does not only encompass the concept to gender sensitivity but is also aimed at promoting the concept of preferential voters,” she said.

The senior ECP official with specific reference to preferential voters’ concept said that this is to facilitate senior citizens, people with disabilities, transgenders and pregnant women in exercising their right to vote.

“There are clear instructions that none of the above people is made to stand in a queue but is instead extended special treatment during the exercise,” said Nighat.

In regard to a question about the gender gap of around 12.5 million women on electoral rolls, she said that 3.8 million new female voters have been added to the electoral roll whereas, the number of registered transgenders has also significantly increased.

In response to another question about female voters being denied of their right to vote and take part in elections through instances of violence, she said the security staff of ECP have been trained by armed forces to handle the situation.

She mentioned that during general elections 2013, 124 polling stations did not see any female voter while more than 130,000 voters were present on the electoral rolls of these polling stations.

“Women’s turnout on 207 polling stations was less than 10 per cent,” she said mentioning that as per modifications in the law, ECP during 2018 polls is authorised to declare voting process null and void at the polling stations or constituencies where the turn-out of female voters is registered to be less than 10 per cent.