LAHORE: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Human Rights Cell strongly condemned the other day the recent ban imposed on women canvassing in the upcoming February 8 general elections in Mansehra. Samana Malaika Raza, General Secretary of the PPP Human Rights Cell, demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) thoroughly investigate the matter and take appropriate legal action against those responsible for violating women’s constitutional right to contest elections.
The ban, Samana said, adopted by a group of 30 clerics including prominent members of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF), is not only a direct violation of democratic values but also an affront to the principles of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The PPP firmly believes that women have the right to participate freely and actively in all aspects of political activities, she said.
Samana emphasized the importance of upholding the principles of democracy and gender equality and called the ban imposed by the clerics not only regressive, but that it also undermined the progress made in ensuring women’s political participation. The PPP has a long-standing commitment to women’s rights and has been at the forefront of advocating for gender equality in all sectors of society, including politics, she said.
The ban on women’s canvassing was reminiscent of the opposition faced by “our beloved leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, when she contested for the prime ministerial position. Benazir Bhutto’s legacy broke barriers and empowered countless women to engage in politics and public service. It is disheartening to witness any form of opposition to women’s participation in politics” the PPP official said.
The PPP, she said, calls upon the Election Commission of Pakistan to take immediate action “against this discriminatory ban on women’s canvassing. We urge the ECP to eliminate gender-based restrictions on political participation, ensuring equal opportunities for all candidates regardless of gender.”
Samana added that the PPP appealed to the people of Mansehra to reject “this regressive and discriminatory ban and exercise their right to vote in favor of candidates who prioritize democracy, inclusivity, and gender equality.”
The PPP remains unwavering in its commitment to fighting for women’s rights and creating a society where women are free to exercise their political rights without fear or discrimination.