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AAWAZ Provincial Forum met with Provincial Election Commission, Punjab , Lahore


AAWAZ Provincial Forum met with Provincial Election Commission, Punjab

A meeting of AAWAZ Provincial Forum (APF) Punjab was held with Provincial Election Commission, Punjab (PECP) on 17 Septemeber, 2015 at the office of the Commission. A 12 members delegation of AAWAZ Provincial Forum  met with Provinical Joint Election Commissioer Mr Ishfaq Sarwar. At that occasion Director General Local Government & Public Relation Officer, PECP, Mr Huda Ali Gohar  and AAWAZ Consourtium partner SPO Regional head were also attended the meeting. 

The objective of the meeting was to introduce gender sensitive symbols and procedures during upcoming LG Elections. The points which APF members discussed with the PECP included: i) allotment of gender sensitised symbol to women candidates on general and reserve seats, ii) separate counter for women during scrutiny of nomination papers of women candidates, iii) special arrangements for pregnant women, persons with disability and senior citizens on polling day, iv) selection of suitable place for women polling stations, iv) coordination and collaboration for running voter education campaign.

AAWAZ Provincial Forum organized a meeting with Provincial Election Commission of Punjab to introduce gender sensitive symbols and procedures during upcoming LG elections. Meeting was facilitated by Auart Foundation. Meeting was chaired by Joint Election Commissioner, Punjab, Mr Ishfaq Sarwer.  Participnats shared their experiences about symbol. A number of women withdrawn from election due to insensitive symbols. Director Local  Government Election shared the list of symbols. Particiants showed their concerns and  observations on them because all were patericahal rooted notions and gender streotypies. Typical social mindset was refelected through these allotments.

Resultantly, PECP welcomed the APF concerns and promised to incorporate the suggestions in polling schmes. It were deceided that PECP  would issue  instructions to ROs such as providing the choice to women candidates for selection of symbol  and alloting gender sensitive symbols, setting up special counter for women candaidates during scrutiny of nominatations, special treatment would be given for preganent women, women with disabilities and senior citizen on election day. 

Furthermore PECP will ensure that women polling station would be on ground floor and also ensure the proper boundry walls and toiletry facilities. It should be setup at safe places by keeping in view of women access and mobility.  PECP will instruct to district PECP office to participate in voter education activities.  

In the end of meeting, Mr Ishfaq Sarwer appricated the civil society efforts and acknowledged that civil society organizations always facilitated PECP. He said that civil society orgnizations campaign on voters’ education will help us to increase the voters turn out.  He said that PECP offices will fully cooperate to APF. Any violation and camplaint which we would  received from APF, PECP would address on priority basis. He also offered to visit PECP monitoring cell which is constituted recently in PECP building. Participants visited it. He shared the number of helpline to register the campalint.