Women legislators from the National and Sindh Assemblies have called for reforms in the legal and regulatory framework governing elections to fully realize the constitutional guarantees of women’s full participation in all aspects of national life, including politics. In a rare show of cross-party unanimity, legislators representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan (MMAP) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) agreed on a range of legal and regulatory measures required to address the challenges facing women’s electoral contestation and support their graduation from the reserved seats to general seats following the spirit of reservation. During a training workshop on the electoral framework, the women legislators urged the government, political parties, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to prioritize women-specific amendments in the Elections Act, 2017, the Election Rules, 2017, and the electoral codes of conduct to enhance the quality and inclusiveness in the upcoming general elections.
The workshop was organized by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) under its Women Leadership Development Program, which sought to support reserved-seat women legislators to contest general seats. As many as 11 MNAs including Ghazala Saifi, Munawwara Bibi Baloch, Nafeesa Inayatullah, Nusrat Wahid, Saira Bano, Shaheen Saifullah, Shahnaz Saleem, Shahida Akhtar Ali, Syma Nadeem, Uzma Riaz, Zill-e-Huma and 12 Sindh MPAs including Adeeba Hassan, Ghazala Sial, Heer Soho, Hina Dastagir, Kalsoom Akhtar, Naseem Rajpar, Shahana Ashar, Rabia Khatoon, Seema Zia, Sarwat Fatima, Shazia Umar, and Tanzila Umi Habiba participated in the workshops. Free and Fair Election Network’s (FAFEN) Chairperson Ms. Mossarat Qadeem and TDEA’s Trustee Dr. Anoosh W. Khan addressed the participants.