The speakers at a seminar stressed upon measures to raise awareness on women’s participation in political arena and affirmative actions to ensure women’s exercise of right to vote and contest in the elections. Aurat Foundation organised a seminar on “Challenges and Obstacles in Women Right to vote” here on Friday at a local hotel. PPP MNA Ms Yasmeen Rehman, PPP MPA Sajida Mir, PML-Q representative Ms Mehnaz Rafi, regional coordinator Aurat Foundation Mumtaz Mughal, provincial election commissioner Punjab Qamar-uz-Zaman, DGM Nadra Colonel Muhammad Nawaz and President High Court Bar Association Justice Nasira Javaid Iqbal addressed the seminar. Ms Yasmeen said that PPP was working for women betterment especially in rural and tribal areas. She said that feudalism in Punjab and Jirga system in NWFP were main hurdles for women’s active role in politics. She said that women wanted to vote or participate in political activities but their male family members did not allow them to come out of their respective homes. She said that media should play its due role to change the prevailing thinking of society regarding women standing. Sajida Mir said women are living in male dominant society where permission of male is necessary especially in rural areas to come out even for casting a vote. She observed that the condition of women in urban is somewhat better as during current election campaign, female workers were more active as compared to male workers but unfortunately still women are being deprived of their right to participate in country’s politics. Ms Mehnaz Rafi said that women consist of more than half population in Pakistan but they were not interested in casting their votes due to lack of awareness. She said that it was the duty of government to take measures to encourage them to cast their right of vote.
She stressed that all the political parties should give 33 per cent representation to women in their parties. She said that registration of those parties should be cancelled who discourage females to caste their vote in elections. Qamar-uz-Zaman said that Pakistan Election Commission had completed computerise record of all voters in Pakistan. He said that it was not their duty to make laws and they are bound to follow only rules. He said that if people were facing difficulties in registration then it was duty of parliamentarians to change those laws. He said that PEC had provided door-to-door service for registration but unfortunately most of the people were not interested in attaining this service. He also informed that immoveable property or permanent residence was required for the registration.Muhammad Nawaz said that 543 centres of Nadra were working to make easy accessibility of CNIC. Friday was allocated specially for women’s registration whereas they could also applied for new CNIC during the whole week, he added. He said that female staff was also deployed to facilitate women. He said that any body could get his new CNIC without any cost as all kinds of fees had been waived off.