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    Saturday, 8 September 2018

    Only 8 women in 2018, Six in 2013 elected on General seat of National Assembly

    Despite a record number of 183 women contesting the July 25 polls, only eight female lawmakers were able to get elected to general seats, according to data released by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
    Of the winning women candidates, four won on NA seats in Sindh, three in Punjab, and one in Balochistan. No women candidates won a general seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
    The relatively high number of women participating in elections this time around could partially be attributed to a provision in the Elections Act 2017 that bound all political parties to allocate at least 5 per cent tickets to women on general seats for the NA and provincial assemblies.
    The three major political parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, PML-N and PPP issued tickets to the minimum number of women as was permissible by the law, barely following the official 5pc requirement.the two main religious parties — Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) — have maintained their tradition of totally ignoring women candidates on general seats and, like the previous two elections, no woman candidate has been awarded a party ticket by these two parties.
    Of the successful women candidates, three had contested on PPP tickets ─ Nafisa Shah (NA-208, Khairpur-I), Shazia Marri (NA-216, Sanghar-II) and Shamsun Nisa (NA-232, Thatta).
    Two winning female candidates, Ghulam Bibi (NA-115, Jhang-II) and Zartaj Gul (NA-191, DG Khan) had contested on PTI tickets, while the PML-N, Balochistan Awami Party and the Grand Democratic Alliance each had one winning woman candidate ─ Mehnaz Akber Aziz (NA-77, Narowal-I), Zubaida Jalal (NA-271, Kech) and Fehmida Mirza (NA-230, Badin II) respectively.
    The number of women candidates in the 2013 elections was 135 with the number of independent candidates higher than those of party ticket holders — 74 and 61, respectively. In the 2008 elections, the number of women candidates was as low as 72, including 41 party ticket holders and 31 independents. The nation has elected 16 women representatives out of 463 candidates who entered the political ring for 324 national and provincial general seats.
    According to The Researchers, 150 women filed nomination papers at national level from 111 constituencies of which 60 were on party tickets. At provincial levels 313 women filed nomination papers from 213 constituencies of which 115 were party ticket holders.
    The Researchers (TR) under its initiatives - Pakistan Governance Forum (PGF) and Women & Politics in Asia Forum (WPAF) - undertook observation of Election 2013 with a gender lens. This was in pursuance of organisation’s 10 years effort to observe and document women role in electoral and political processes since 2002.  Aazar Ayaz, executive director, informed that a complete report focusing women performance in pre-poll, poll day and post poll phases will be launched as soon as ECP completes election result and government formation is completed.
    In the 2008, 16 women joined National Assembly and 10 at respective provincial assemblies on general seats. For 2013 elections, up till now, 6  (3 each from PML-N & PPPP) women have made it to National Assembly and 10 to the four provincial assemblies i.e. 8 in Punjab, 1 each in Sindh & Balochistan whereas no women could win a general seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Six female winners of 2008 National Assembly could find their way back for 2013, along with 4 from provincial assemblies.
    Interestingly 2 women each from Punjab (Sumera Malik and Ghulam Bibi Bharwana) and Sindh (Dr Azra Afzal Peechu & Dr Fahmida Mirza) have made a hat trick of wining their seats in National Assembly since 2002. Whereas, 2 women of 2008 Punjab Assembly (Nazia Raheel and Naghma Mushtaq) have been re-elected.
    The National Assembly winners’ detail and comparison with 2008 is as follows:
    Among the winners Sumaira Malik of NA-69 Khushab I, wining by a margin of 38,253, has bagged highest number of votes 118,108 with estimated voter turnout of 61.72 per cent in her constituency. The lowest win has come on 83,916 votes by Faryal Talpur of NA-207 Larkana IV who won by a margin of 63,438 in a constituency where voter turnout was 54.24 per cent.
    The lowest wining margin is of 18,152 votes for Ghlam Bibi Bharwana from NA-88 Jhang-Cum-Chiniot where the voter turnout was 64.54 per cent, which is highest among the six women winning constituencies.
    Among the winners of provincial assemblies, Saniya of PS-109 Karachi XXI, won by a margin of 44,054 votes besides bagging highest number of votes 53,926 cast with estimated voter turnout of 49.17 per cent for her constituency. Rahat Jamali of PB-26 Jaffarbad II secured 12,521 votes, which is lowest number of vote taken among the winners. She won by a margin of 5,758 in a constituency where voter turnout is informed to be 40.25 per cent.
    Whereas, the lowest wining margin is 1,859 votes of Rashida Yakoob from PP-78 Jhang II; where the voter turnout has been 51.93 per cent.
    Analysing the results of 2013 women contested constituencies one factor has clearly emerged that in Punjab voters cast their ballot for the party rather than the candidates as all the women candidates who have switched their parties were able to bag more votes than before or converted previous losses to wins this time.
    Ayaz appreciated ECP’s efforts to collect and disseminate gender disaggregated data, which has happened for the first time in Pakistan. ‘This is a good omen to document women role and will bring institutional focus to women issues in electoral processes. This will also provide space for advocacy with political parties to further mainstream women in political processes leading to their equitable share within political parties and institutional democracy’.
    He informed that 2013 elections have been phenomenal for women form the perspective of number of candidates and voters by way of their political experience as large number of first timers women were given opportunity to contest under PTI and other parties.36 women candidates were awarded party tickets on 272 general NA seats. There were 34 women candidates for these seats in 2008 while the number in 2002 election was 38.Similarly, the MQM also nominated seven women on NA general seats. In 2008, the party had fielded five women while there were four women candidates for the 2002 election.
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    Item Reviewed: Only 8 women in 2018, Six in 2013 elected on General seat of National Assembly Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Asqamar