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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday reviewed the steps taken to bridge the huge gap of more than 12 million between male and female voters and to strengthen female voters' participation in the electoral process.

In this connection, Secretary ECP Dr Akhtar Nazir chaired a virtual meeting of Gender and Disability Electoral Group attended by the Special Secretary ECP Zafar Iqbal Hussain, Additional Director General Gender Affairs at ECP Nighat Siddique as well as other senior ECP officials and members of the civil society.

ECP's Additional DG Gender Affairs briefed the meeting regarding the ECP's Third Strategic Plan 2019-2023, Joint ECP-NADRA Women's CNIC and Voters' Registration and Pilot Survey to identify unregistered women voters and the reasons of under-registration of women voters, a press release from the electoral body said.

The meeting was informed that Gender Mainstreaming and Social Inclusion is the key feature of the Third Strategic Plan, it added.

"The ECP is determined that all segments of the society would be given equal opportunity to participate in the electoral and political process. The Election Commission of Pakistan continued to discharge its duties even at the time of pandemic for the continuation of the democratic process in the country as the working on the delimitation of constituencies in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was underway," the secretary ECP was quoted in the statement as having said.

On June 3, 2020, the ECP announced that decided to seek from NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) the details of persons issued Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC) in the backdrop of huge difference of more than 12.49 million voters between male and female voters in the voters lists of the last general elections held on July 25, 2018.

The ECP, in a meeting then, decided to seek the relevant details of the persons issued CNICs besides deciding to work in close coordination with NADRA to identify the reasons of huge gap between the number of male and female voters in addition to taking steps to bridge this gap, an official statement from the ECP said.

The Commission also instructed its Gender Affairs and Elections wings to identify those areas across the country that have huge disparity in the number of male and female voters and to take steps through a workable mechanism to end this disparity, the statement added.

In the voter lists of last general elections, known as Final Electoral Rolls (FERs) 2018, there were 105,955,409 registered voters including 59,224,263 male voters and 46,731,146 female voters. This implies that male voters were 12,493,117 more in number in comparison with female voters. Out of these 105,955,409, some 60,672,870 were registered in Punjab including 33,679,993 male and 26,992,877 female voters, 22,391,244 voters in Sindh including 12,436,844 male and 9,954,400 female voters, 15,316,299 voters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including 8,705,831 male and 6,610,468 female voters, 4,299,494 voters in Balochistan including 2,486,230 male and 1,813,264 female voters and 765,348 voters in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) including 407,463 male and 357,885 female voters.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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