Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women



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Situation on the Ground

Voters


  1. The percentage of women voters was 46.3% for the 1988 elections. It decreased marginally to 46.1% for the 1990 elections, to 45.5% for the 1993 elections and to 44.5% for the 1997 elections. The percentage rose to 46.1% for the elections held on 10 October 2002.

  2. Female voter turnout is generally thought to be less than the male voter turnout. A study based on 25% of the total polling stations in the 1990 elections revealed that 48% men and 30% women voters cast their vote. Another study based on voter turnout data from constituencies in Lahore (Punjab) during the 1993 elections indicated a 46.9% turnout of male voters and 40.4% turnout for women voters.7

  3. As stated above, penalties exist for those who threaten or prevent voters from exercising their electoral rights. However women in certain areas of the country were prevented from doing so in the local bodies elections and the last general elections (October 2002). A complaint was filed with the Peshawar High Court, which ruled in March 2004 that women cannot be stopped from exercising their political rights. The Court however did not declare the previous elections void in constituencies where women voters were prevented from casting their votes.

Women as Candidates and as Elected Members of the Senate, the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies

  1. The reservation of special quota for women in the legislature, in addition to the possibility of contesting elections on open seats, has been a regular feature of the political system of Pakistan as a form of affirmative action. The quota for women in the 1973 Constitution was for a specified period and ended in 1988 after the lapse of that period. Women could still contest elections on general seats. The percentage of women contesting elections on general seats of all candidates in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1997, was 1.2, 1.8, 0.97, 1.0 and 2.0 respectively.

TABLE 7.02 Women Elected to the National Assembly (NA) and Provincial Assemblies (PAs) on General Seats since 1970

Year

% in National Assembly

Average % for the four provincial assemblies

1970

1990


2002

0.0

1.0


0.21

*

0.4


0.20

*Not available:

Source:-Election Commission of Pakistan, Quoted in Baseline Report on Women’s participation in the Public and Political Life in Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, October 1999.


TABLE 7.03 Number of Elected Senators by Gender and Election Year


Election Year

Number of Elected Senators

Number of Elected Senators

Women

Men

Total

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

1985

87

0

0.0

87

100.0

1990

87

1

1.1

86

98.9

1997

87

2

2.3

85

97.7

2002

100

188

18

72

72

Source: Senate Secretariat, Parliament House, Islamabad. Baseline Report on Women’s participation in the Public and Political Life in Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, October 1999.




TABLE 7.04 Number Of Elected Members To The National Assembly By Gender And Election Year

Election Year

Number of Elected Members

Number of Elected Members

Women

Men

Total

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

1985

237

23

9.7

214

90.3

1990

217

2

0.9

215

99.1

1997

217

6

2.8

211

97.2

2002

342

73

21.3

269

78.7

Source: National Assembly Secretariat, Parliament House, Islamabad. Quoted in Baseline Report on Women’s participation in the Public and Political Life in Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, October 1999.


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