The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) on Thursday demanded the government to make it mandatory for all political parties to give at least 10 per cent general seats tickets to women and 33 per cent representation of women in all decision making bodies in political parties.
The commission recommended for increase in women’s quota of reserved seats to 33 per cent and to consider modalities for direct election to women’s reserved seats. It was further suggested that elections results management system should be made on the basis of gender segregation, including that of rejected ballot papers.
The commission recommended this in its Law and Policy Committee (L&PC) meeting. The meeting was being participated senior legal experts and advisors and Commission’s Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz.
As per details, beside some other important issues being faced by women segment of population, the committee discussed the Report of Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform and Sindh Forced Conversion Law. The NCSW appreciated the Second Interim Report of Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms.
It was recommended by the commission that the women’s full participation in the political process is essential for country’s development and that the provision of reserved seats is an interim measure till the time women can contest directly in the electoral process.
The NCSW further suggested the provision of at least 10 per cent turnout of women voters in polling stations and constituency to declare an election valid while representation of one woman in each constituency across the country should be mandatory for representation in the National Assembly (NA).
The NCSW’s committee appreciated the Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Act 2015 that makes provisions for protection of persons against forced conversion. However, it also expressed concerns about reported steps to withdraw sections of the Act, which allow conversions only after attaining the age of majority.
It is pertinent to mention her that Sindh Marriage Restraint Act, 2013 (which sets the minimum age of marriage as 18 years). And Nadra Act, 2002, Hindu Marriage Act, 2016 in which also has been set the minimum age of marriage at 18 years old for Hindu community. In this scenario, the commission urged the Sindh government for not making any changes in the law as passed and maintain its record of progressive legislation.
The NCSW is a statutory body dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women in Pakistan. The entity was established under the National Commission on the Status of Women Act 2012. The commission ensures that issues faced by women in Pakistan may address in systematic manner. Under act, it examines the policies and programs initiated by government.
Imran, Myra. Commission recommends increase in women’s quota of reserved seats to 33 per cent. The News, January 13, 2017.