Voting rights cannot be denied to Pakistani women, according to the PM’s envoy on religious matters.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani women have “full rights” to vote in the upcoming national polls, said Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, the prime minister’s envoy on religious affairs, saying that no one can deprive females of taking part in the electoral exercise.

Polling booths would open nationwide for over 120 million people across Pakistan on Feb. 8. Though voting is a constitutional right for all adults in Pakistan, in past elections millions of women had been effectively barred from voting across the country, according to the Human Rights Watch.

As per a report in the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Ashrafi told reporters at a press conference that voting was not only a civic duty but also a testimony. He said when someone knew about a testimony, it was a “crime” not to give it.

“He extended this principle to include women’s voting rights and emphasized that women could not be deprived of their right to vote,” the APP said.

Ashrafi said the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) had affirmed the legality of voting in Pakistan, saying that authorities had also undertaken arrangements for women to exercise their voting rights nationwide.

“He clarified that Pakistan had separate polling stations and polling staff will facilitate women voters, ensuring their participation in the democratic process,” the report said.

He reiterated voting was a “fundamental duty” of every citizen and urged all eligible voters to cast their votes on Feb. 8.

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