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ECP moves to ensure quota for women on general seats

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ISLAMABAD: In a bid to ensure compliance with the poll rules, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday told the political parties to submit their candidates’ list to the watchdog within five days to ensure that at least five per cent of women candidates are allocated general seats under Section 206 of the Elections Act, 2017.

According to a statement issued by the ECP, “The political parties, having been allocated election symbols for general elections 2024, are mandatorily required to ensure five per cent representation of women candidates on general seats under the provisions of Section 206 of the Elections Act, 2017.

“All political parties concerned are, therefore, requested to submit the list of male/female candidates on general seats (to whom party tickets have been issued) to ECP within five days of this press rele­ase,” said the statement on Sunday.

It may be noted that the PTI, which lost its electoral symbol on Saturday night, had fielded 20 women nominees for general seats out of a total of 234 candidates. However, since the party is without a symbol, all of its candidates will contest the elections independently. A PTI list of 234 candidates for 266 seats of the National Assembly carried the names of 20 women candidates.

PPP Senator Taj Haider, who is in charge of the PPP’s central election cell, said the party has allocated more than five per cent of seats to women candidates. He added that the PPP had allocated tickets to women in constituencies where the party was likely to sweep polls. He mentioned PPP candidate Savera Parkash, who is contesting from Bannu for a general seat, saying that she has even garnered the media spotlight.

He also said that the amendment for the aforementioned law to bolster the number of women in parliament was tabled by the PPP in a parliamentary committee.

PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui said the party’s quota for women also exceeded five per cent as the ECP rules mandate. He added that PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz has particularly focused on the participation of women in electoral politics.

According to the PML-N senator, the ECP should have issued this directive seeking compliance with Section 206 sooner so that the political parties could have ensured the fielding of women candidates on general seats before the award of party tickets. He said the PML-N had finalised its manifesto and after its approval by Nawaz Sharif, the party would unveil the document this week.