Wednesday Apr 07 2021

Daska by-polls: Scores of women may not be able to cast votes as per their free will

Although the Daska district has a significant population of educated women who practice their right to vote, a considerable number of women hailing from less-privileged backgrounds remain unable to vote of their free will.

Most women in the district have shared that, to date, they are not allowed to cast their votes without the consent of the male members of their household.

"Sometimes it is political pressure or the inclination of our family members for a particular party that forces us to cast our vote to a particular candidate," shared one of the female residents of the district.

Read more: Opinion polls show PML-N ahead of PTI in NA-75 Daska

On the other hand, a few working females shared that they are so caught up in their own lives that they hardly get time to go to the polling stations and cast their votes.

"I wanted to go to the polling station but my family was so scared about the political situation after they heard of the firing incident that they asked me to stay at home instead," another female resident said, referring to bloody clashes between the two main rivals in the constituency the last time a by-election was held here.

After considerable delays and controversies, the NA-75 Daska by-polls will take place on April 10, 2021. 

What controversies have surrounded the Daska by-polls?

After a full-fledged election campaign between the PML-N and the PTI in NA-75, by-polls in the constituency were initially held on February 19, 2021. 

Supporters of both parties showed a lot of enthusiasm for the contest — so much so that it turned into chaos on polling day.

Read more: Daska: Amid rising coronavirus cases, is NA-75 ready for by-polls?

In addition to chaotic situation outside of polling booths on February 19, other, more serious controversies had also surfaced. 

On election night, 20 presiding officers failed to reach the office of the presiding officer and could not be contacted for the rest of the night.

On the other hand, both PTI and PML-N candidates contesting the by-polls from the constituency claimed victory even before official results were announced.

The controversy over the election's conduct eventually forced the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to order a re-election in the constituency, but the decision was challenged in the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court eventually upheld the ECP's decision and asked for repolling to continue as planned. 

Thereafter, April 10 has been fixed as the date for the re-election.