In the upcoming general elections, millions of women aged 18 and above will not be able to cast their vote despite being eligible. A report revealed that NADRA cannot issue CNICs to the a huge amount of unregistered voters in a short timespan, hence, they would be deprived of casting votes.
The report further disclosed that the registered female voters are 12.17 million less in number than registered male voters and the imbalance is likely to increase in next elections as well.
The main reason for this imbalance is the absence of CNICs among the age-wise eligible voters. Recently, the Sindh Assembly took notice of these irregularities and requested the Federal government to take necessary steps in issuing the CNICs to around 13 million unregistered women voters.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that it will be organizing a campaign next year, especially in areas with a large imbalance among male and female voters to encourage the female voters to use their right of casting a vote.
The voters’ list for general elections 2018 will be confined by July – August next year.
The critics unveiled that current resources of NADRA, including 539 National Registration Centers (NRC), 234 Mobile Registration Vans, and 14 women-only NRCs, are insufficient to produce the CNICs for millions of unregistered women.
A NADRA official told the media that they are already working harder than usual and they still wouldn’t be able to produce more than 3 million additional cards until next elections.
“Sometimes it takes us 45 minutes to process one application. People have different issues. Some lack required documents, some have other issues,” he added.
Usually, a normal card takes 30, an urgent card takes 21 and an executive card takes 7 days to be printed.
Read More: Elections in 2018 Might Be Delayed – PBS
Keeping all these circumstances in mind, NADRA won’t be able to print over 12 million cards before next elections, depriving these people from casting a vote.
On the other hand, different NGOs claimed that they have to face many difficulties while applying for women’s CNICs.
An official from the same organization told that “Normal CNIC is free of cost for the first time. However, NADRA officials insist on the Smart Card which costs Rs. 400 per person.”