Free and fair election process decides the future mechanism of a country, making it the most serious business for the stakeholders. But when it comes to female polling stations, the tables turn completely.

Massive rigging plans, bogus votes, security matters, political alliances, aerial firing were beyond the concerns of the women who came out of houses to cast their votes in this year’s Local Bodies Elections. During the evening hours of Pakistan’s most celebrated LB polls, the pink population came out to mark their presence. The roads were bustling with colourful dupattas and household discussions by the women strolling the streets. Even though the polling stations were surrounded by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Independent candidates’ helping booths to ensure participation of people in elections but these were the women who ruled the streets near polling stations.

Estimates show that women participation in many areas was higher than men. On way to their designated polling booths, supporters of contesting parties were approaching them to convince them to vote for their respective party. Upon reaching the station and standing in the long queues awaiting their turn to vote, they were indulged into serious as well as hilarious discussions from their reasons to cast vote for a particular political party, political standings of the contesting candidates to what they cooked at home, different recipes, how difficult it was to send their children to academies, family politics and TV serials. A middle-age housewife was observed saying in Punjabi, “This is just an eye-wash, we are not going to get anything out of it.” Another replied, “At least this will make our husbands happy who have been sleepless due to the over excitment of these elections.” The comment was applauded and supported by other women wrapped in traditional stoles. While some came out to vote because their relative or family friend was contesting the polls. “I finished my household chores, sent my children to academy, served food to my husband and now I am here because my relative is contesting.” Collectively it was a beautiful session of wit and spontaneous arguements but all in good humour.

Another issue that was widely discussed was Imran Khan’s divorce. One woman was overheard as saying, “I have to vote for PTI, I don’t want my husband to follow in Imran Khan’s footsteps and divorce me over this.” At this, the air burst into laughter. Similar scenes were observed inside polling booths, guarded by a male policeman, the female staff was vigilant, active, dutiful and well-organized. Presiding officers, polling officers were all busy performing their tasks with random smiles and soft talks. Many children were accompanying their mothers and sisters. They were playing, running and causing disruption at the polling process. Some women were seen scolding their children while others playing with them, some were explaining purpose of elections to their teenage kids, while others were irritated with long delays.

Union Councils 61, 65, 68, 69 witnessed huge women voters turn over but ironically not even a single female candidate was contesting from these areas and apparently so, women don’t care about it either. They had other purposes to serve, to make their husbands, fathers and brothers happy. In areas like Johar Town, Canal View, West Wood (Thokar Niaz Beg), Cavalry, Gulberg, Shadman, Herbunzpura, Batapur, Shalimar Link Road and Islampura large number of women came out to make their voice heard in hope to resolve local issues at their doorsteps by their appointed councilors and chairpersons. They also participated, supported election commission and campaigned rigorously. Hence, female polling stations were much more eventful as compared to dull and frightening male booths from where many fighting reports emerged.