ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party Vice-President Senator Sherry Rehman yesterday said that women were not being given level playing field in the Gilgit-Baltistan elections.

The PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate demanded a level playing field for everyone - including women - in the upcoming GB polls.  “It is shocking that not only are women being disallowed to submit papers in their respective areas, but they have also not been given proper security despite several threats,” she said in a statement. PPP’s Sadia Danish, she said, “needs better security as the GB administration has clearly told her she’s under threat. She has also been told not to submit her papers in the Diamer area, where she’s contesting but to submit the same elsewhere.”

The lawmaker said: “Part-1, A (6) Code of Conduct for the GB elections 2020 clearly states that ‘Political Parties shall endeavor to provide equal opportunity to its qualified members both men and women to participate in the electoral process’. Then why are women being denied submitting their papers in their respective areas? It is a violation of the Code of Conduct.”

The PPP leader said the Free and Fair Election Network had also urged the Election Commission of Gilgit-Baltistan to take appropriate measures to further improve voters’ access to polling stations, particularly of women, for the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly election.

Says PPP’s Sadia Danish has been told not to submit her papers in Diamer area

Commenting on the strong presence of women in GB, the Senator said: “Women votes in the GB region are very strong and must be respected at all times. They are also deprived of their basic rights in some parts of the region, especially in Diamer. It is our duty and responsibility to make sure that women have been given all the rights in contesting the elections.” She said PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had categorically stated, “We will not let anyone snatch women’s right to vote in the GB elections.” 

She said Benazir Bhutto fought to empower women all over Pakistan and “we must continue her legacy. PPP has introduced democracy in this mountainous region, and we will ensure women thrive and prosper in the upcoming GB elections.”

The PPP leader alleged Federal minister for Kashmir affairs Ali Amin Khan Gandapur had been illegally visiting and campaigning in GB. 

“This is an open violation of election rules in GB. According to the Election Act, 2017, the federal government is not allowed to campaign on the ground. On top of all this, the PM (Imran Khan) had also decided to add to this flagrant rigging and misuse of federal resources by landing in GB to campaign last week,” added the senator.