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ECP accelerates efforts to bridge gender gap in electoral rolls

ECP accelerates efforts to bridge gender gap in electoral rolls

ISLAMABAD: Appalled by the fact that over 10 million women were missing out of the electoral rolls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has geared up efforts to bridge the gender gap in the electoral rolls.

Talking to Dawn after the first meeting of gender and disability electoral working group, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad said that the ECP had identified the areas where the proportion of women voters was alarmingly low as compared to male voters.

He said the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) would make special arrangements on apolitical basis for registration of women averse to obtaining computerised national identity cards to subsequently become voters. “We intend to significantly reduce the gap before general election 2018,” he added.

He said efforts were also under way to ensure automatic registration as voter for those who obtain CNIC on attaining age of 18 years. He urged civil society to carry out research on reasons that keep women away from electoral exercises.

Earlier, representatives of the civil society attending the event announced their support for the ECP in bridging the gender gap in the electoral rolls.

The meeting deliberated upon the possible reasons for under-registration of millions of women voters and strategies to address the issue. The civil society groups offered the ECP an active support in identifying the missing women voters and engaging other stakeholders, including media, political parties, Nadra, corporate sector and communities with high under-registration for early registration of missing women voters.

It was emphasised that efforts should be made on a war-footing as less than two years’ time was left before the ECP conducts the next general elections in 2018. It is, therefore, pertinent that the ECP should take all appropriate measures which could help the missing women voters registered at the earliest.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2016

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