PESHAWAR - Despite specifying a large number of polling stations for female voters, women turnout was less than males due to agreements between various political parties as well as indiscipline at various polling stations across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The polling remained slow also due to time-consuming process of casting seven votes at a time, causing a huge rush at the polling stations. In district Peshawar women returned home without casting their votes due to violence, scuffles and great rush inside and outside the polling stations.

In the rural areas of Nowshera, women were barred from casting their votes due to earlier agreements among PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami National Party.

Several women voters told The Nation that no one could snatch from them right to vote and no one could force them to go to polling stations without their consent. IN fact, nobody barred them from casting vote. Those who wanted to exercise their right to vote went to polling stations, but those who were afraid of violence and indiscipline avoided going there.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa inspector general of police clearly announced that no one could force a female to leave her house and attend a polling station, saying it was a matter of choice as some women didn’t like to come out of their houses due to cultural barriers.

Several untoward incidents happened in Peshawar when a female voter scuffled with police in the Peshawar University campus. She tried to snatch pistol from a policeman and fire at him, but other women succeeded in overpowering her.

Another incident occurred in Kohat when two persons were arrested for allegedly harassing the women who were coming to cast their votes. In swat, a scuffle was witnessed when a male candidate entered a female polling station. Several clashes were also reported from Lower Dir and Upper Dir where women were stopped from casting vote.

Three women were injured in the Nasafa area of Peshawar where two groups exchanged fire, creating stampede inside the police station.  

As compared to the past elections, this time a large number of female voters were seen in both rural and urban areas. The trend will change in the next general elections as men have recognised this right of women. Certain cultural barriers, however, still exist in upper rural parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Political experts in rural parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa believe that women’s visits to polling stations have created problems and enmities as some male candidates entered female polling stations, which is against Pashtun tradition.

KP IGP directs for action against LB polls’ violators: Inspector General of Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Nasir Khan Durrani has taken serious notice of various Local Bodies (LB) election related incidents occurred at different polling stations in the province on Saturday.

In an official statement issued from central police office Peshawar, the IGP has directed police high ups to register FIR against all those persons involved in an aerial firing, exhibiting/displaying arms and damaging ballot paper/ballot boxes without any discrimination.

They were further directed to expedite their efforts and ensure their early arrest without any failure.