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Women being restrained from voting ahead of KPK’s local government elections: EU and UNDP

According to a joint statement issued by the European Union Delegation and United Nations Development Programme, women are being barred from voting for the upcoming local govt elections in KPK.

As political parties including the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf gear up for the upcoming local government elections to take place in KPK,  a joint statement from EU and UNDP has has called for action to be taken to ensure women are not denied the right to cast their votes.

The elections are scheduled to take place on June 30th and various political parties have started campaigning in their respective constituencies and strongholds to sway the masses in their favour. The joint statement also urged both the Federal government as well as Provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to take steps that ensure women exercise their right to vote. The statement also stated that this was in line with a recommendation by the European Union Observer Mission to the May 201 3 General Elections which called for “…Resolute actions to be taken against agreements that prohibit women from voting.”

The joint statement also reminded Pakistan that it had been a member of Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, hence the country must implement the agreements it had signed to protect and guarantee liberation of women.

KPK is the most violent province of Pakistan, where the Taliban have terrorized scores of women these past few years. Militancy and extremism was at its peak during elections 2013 when the secular Awami National Party (ANP) suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) another secular political party, who gained a thumping majority in the province. The conservative environment of KPK as well as security fears, prove as barriers for women to participate in the voting process in the province.

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