Pakistan electoral reform plans aim to boost women's participation in politics | Reuters

By Waqar Mustafa LAHORE, Pakistan (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Reforms to Pakistan's electoral laws making it mandatory for political parties to allot five percent of their tickets to women candidates were approved on Tuesday by the federal cabinet, the country's highest decision-making body.Under Pakistan's constitution, women are guaranteed seats through a quota system in the national parliament and regional assemblies in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.At present, 60 out of 342 seats in the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, are reserved for women with a further 137 seats reserved for women in the four provincial assemblies.However the reforms will pave the way for more women politicians. Women's rights campaigners welcomed the move by the cabinet of ministers, headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but said the quota should be increased.'Various studies have shown that women elected on reserved seats have done a good job in the legislatures

Reuters February 07, 2017 20:47:56 IST
Pakistan electoral reform plans aim to boost women's participation in politics
| Reuters

Pakistan electoral reform plans aim to boost womens participation in politics
 Reuters

By Waqar Mustafa

LAHORE, Pakistan (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Reforms to Pakistan's electoral laws making it mandatory for political parties to allot five percent of their tickets to women candidates were approved on Tuesday by the federal cabinet, the country's highest decision-making body.Under Pakistan's constitution, women are guaranteed seats through a quota system in the national parliament and regional assemblies in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.At present, 60 out of 342 seats in the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, are reserved for women with a further 137 seats reserved for women in the four provincial assemblies.However the reforms will pave the way for more women politicians.

Women's rights campaigners welcomed the move by the cabinet of ministers, headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but said the quota should be increased."Various studies have shown that women elected on reserved seats have done a good job in the legislatures. They have put up good human rights legislations," said Nasreen Azhar, a founder member of Women Action Forum, a women's rights organization."But they are considered weak because they don't have the backing of voters. Now things will improve but the quota should at least be 10 percent," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on phone from Islamabad, where her organisation is based.

Briefing media on the decisions taken by the cabinet, Law Minister Zahid Hamid said the electoral reforms were due to be presented before the National Assembly next month where they are expected to be passed.Last month, the Senate passed a law seeking a re-election in constituencies where women's turnout is less than 10 percent in an effort to address disparities in the number of women who go out to vote in the socially conservative country.

(Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.