MPAs demand CNICs for 0.6m Balochistan women

QUETTA –  Balochistan lawmakers yesterday expressed deep concern over non-issuance of computerised national ID cards to 600,000 women of the province and feared they would be deprived of their right to vote in the forthcoming general elections.

The legislators flayed the National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra) for its failure to take concrete efforts for facilitating women to acquire national ID cards.

The assembly session began one hour and 20 minutes late with Speaker Raheela Hamid Khan Durrani in the chair.

A joint resolution was moved in the house by the lawmakers of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Ubaidullah Jan Babat, Nasrullah Zeray, Spozmai Achakzai, Arifa Siddique and Masooma Ayat regarding issuance of national ID cards to the women of the province.

“As many as 0.6 million women of Balochistan amongst 12.7 million women across the country are not enlisted in the voters’ lists mainly because they have no registration with Nadra,” the lawmakers quoted figures of a new report of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the house.

They said 100,000 women belonging to Quetta only would be unable to utilise their right to vote in the upcoming elections because they didn’t have national identity cards. The legislators also seemed disappointed over inaction on part of the interior in this regard.

Dr Hamid Khan Achakzai said there was a dire need of filling 180 more vacant posts in Balochistan which the former and sitting interior minister had promised, but no action had been taken to materialize their promises.

“There are only 21 mobile vans for 34 districts in Balochistan, which are given to one district for 15 days,” he noted, adding this was not enough to meet the demand.

Health Minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch, backing the resolution, said there were 11 districts in the province where a large number of women did not have national identity cards owing to uncertainty and chaos, urging Nadra to take immediate efforts to resolve the issue. JUI-F member Shida Rauf said keeping women away from electoral process was injustice.

The lawmakers urged the provincial government to contact the federal government for issuance of computerised identity cards to women in the province to enable them to use their right to vote.

Other legislators also spoke on the occasion and backed the resolution. The speaker presented the motion as a joint resolution of the house before the session, which was unanimously approved by the lawmakers.

The Balochistan lawmakers tabled a joint resolution in the session, seeking launch of service of Pashto language in Quetta-based Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) and regularisation of contract employees in the official agency.

The joint resolution was tabled by Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) members, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, Ubaidullah Jan Babat, Nasrullah Zeray, Spozmai Achakzai, Arifa Siddique and Masooma Ayat.

Speaking on the occasion, Arifa Siddique said that in view of the increasing CPEC western route significance, the information ministry’s national news agency, APP, was providing news, videos and pictures to its Quetta-based bureau to highlight significance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In this pretext, she said services in all indigenous languages of Balochi, Bravi and Parsi except Pashto had been launched in the province, while all contract employees in the APP Islamabad-based bureau had been regularised, but contract employees of Quetta couldn’t be regularised.

The lawmaker urged the provincial government to contact the centre with the request to launch service in Pashto language and regularize all contract employees to remove the prevailing uncertainty and anxiety amongst them.

Throwing light on the significance of the resolution, PkMAP lawmaker Nasrullah Zeray said the official news agency of APP had only one office with 1,100 employees whose budget was Rs 750 million.

He regretted four employees had been appointed against Balochistan quota with fake domiciles. Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri said he would order an investigation into the matter. Later, the house unanimously approved the resolution.



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