The Right to Vote - A Universal Human Right (also) for Women!
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) in cooperation with the Lawari Humanitarian Organization (LHO) brought together district heads of all major political parties at a two-day workshop titled “Enhancing women participation in elections in Upper Dir”. Since 1985 women in Upper Dir have not been allowed to vote following a tribal agreement. The main objective of the workshop was to correct that state of affairs and encourage the involvement of women in the political process in the area. The meeting gave the party leaders a platform to discuss the issue of women voting rights and importantly ended with a unanimous resolution disowning all previous agreements barring women from joining elections.
“Women’s right to political participation is a universally accepted human right and must be encouraged at all costs”, said FNF Resident Representative Dr. Almut Besold and added: “We will continue in a constructive manner to encourage efforts to create awareness about the importance of female political participation in Upper Dir and other areas of Pakistan where women are not allowed to vote.”
Six party leaders joined the workshop which was the first of its kind to openly discuss the issue and should set a precedent for further efforts in this regard. It is important to note that in 2013 the same leaders made sure there would be almost no voting by women in their area.
All major political parties including JUI (F), PML-N, PTI, JI, PPP and ANP joined the workshop. “I am hopeful that this unanimous resolution will pave the way for female voting in the May 30 government elections in Upper Dir”, said LHO-Executive Director LHO Asif Ullah Khan.