Women Banned From Voting in Parts of Pakistan Under New Agreement

Pakistan flagIn parts of Pakistan, women are now banned from voting after an local politicians and religious elders came to an agreement. Obviously, they were all men in Hangu and parts of Malakand, districts of the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is all part of the Purdah traditions of the deeply conservative Islamic Pastun tribes in the area. Local mosques recently placed men with batons to beat any women who tried to vote in parliamentary elections. Now, all women are simply banned from voting.

Siraj ul-Haq, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party that jointly controls the KP government, insisted that the virtual zero appearance of women at the polls was merely the result of moral and cultural traditions and not discrimination.

Notably, when 12 brave women filed a petition for their right to vote their (equally brave) lawyer Shahab Khattak appeared in court, their petition was dismissed in 15 minutes by the Pakistani judge. His most incredible comment was to express surprise that women had the right to vote in the first place.

What is most remarkable is that, in the face of this religious and cultural oppression, women are still coming forward to fight for their most basic rights. Even Islamic extremists with clubs has not deterred the women in claiming their basic human rights.

Source: Gulf News

43 thoughts on “Women Banned From Voting in Parts of Pakistan Under New Agreement”

  1. Really Alan? My daughter who has been in the Navy since 2002, has spent a year in Afghanistan, was just yards down the road from where the Taliban cut through the fence in the attack in Camp Leatherneck/ Bastion in Oct. of 2012. Look it up, then get back to me about only men defending this nation and being the “deciders”, lol.

  2. @ I.Annie it works both ways you could also say its a curse to be born a man. Men fight the wars and protect civilization while the women sit back so shouldn’t the men decide who runs things?

  3. I have traveled in the so called Middle East. The veil over the face on women is a good idea. You should consider it in NYC. Not New Orleans.

  4. ALL citizens have “skin” in the education of its society. To think otherwise is to ask for a country full of fools.

  5. Edit to my post. In a utility district or special district, the votes are weighted, in my experience. Statewide issues, such as bonds are not.(to my knowledge)

  6. David, there are elderly or disabled people who still have all their faculties who have divested themselves of their property and are renters for a good purpose. Do they not deserve a vote either?

    1. Inga – as an owner of rental property, I figure the property taxes into my rental price. So I have no problem with my renters voting on bond issues, etc.

  7. votes of persons of means should be given “greater weight.” What in the world does that even mean?

    Here is a real life example. (I was a Director on the Board of a public utility district for some time and we had to deal with this) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_218_%281996%29

    and another link that explains the process. http://www.lao.ca.gov/1996/120196_prop_218/understanding_prop218_1296.html

    In California, under Prop 218 people are able to vote when property is to be assessed. However, the votes are weighted. Meaning that the value of the property to be assessed is pertinent to the voting.

    For example property to be assessed at 1%. If I have a property that is worth 1 million dollars and you have a property that is worth $100,000 my property is worth 10 times your and my assessment will be 10 times yours costing me $10,000 to your $1,000. Therefore under this system my vote is worth 10 times yours.

    This is to prevent people who have no “skin in the game” from voting huge assessments onto a single person or a minority of the community and to prevent assessments being used for purposes other than the stated purpose.

    If you extrapolate this to the current system of people voting to themselves money to be taken from others and that those who are being ‘assessed’ and charged for the results of the vote have been outvoted by those who will benefit at the minorities expense, then a weighted vote for monetary issues seems to be more fair in some respects. For example: a school bond based on property tax assessments. The people who have no skin in the game, own no property and will not be paying any taxes, can force an assessment on those who may have no interest in funding schools, have no children and are basically cash cows for those who want to take from them for their own purposes.

  8. davidm:

    Do you not see the contradiction within your post? On the one hand you agree that the poor should be permitted to vote, and you further agree that a person’s vote should not be “greater” because he is wealthy. You then argue that the votes of persons of means should be given “greater weight.” What in the world does that even mean?

    1. Mike Appleton, no, I don’t see any contradiction.

      Let me rephrase it. Someone earning $10 million a year should not have their vote weighted more than someone earning $100,000 a year. It is not that amount of wealth that I think is significant, but rather the faithfulness and responsibility of assuming property ownership and the associated taxes with that.

      I see property ownership as creating more ties in the community.

    2. Mike A – do you think the rights of the dead to vote are greater or equal to the rights of the living?

  9. davidm:

    I had long thought that you favored a patriarchal system of government in which the wise determine what is in the best interests of the people. But the acquisition of wealth is not evidence of wisdom except among those who argue that material prosperity is proof of God’s approbation. Some of the wisest men who ever lived have been among the poorest. And I will never agree that eliminating the divine right of kings in favor of the divine right of property represents a moral step forward. Nevertheless, you have finally added clarity to your views.

    1. Mike Appleton wrote: “But the acquisition of wealth is not evidence of wisdom except among those who argue that material prosperity is proof of God’s approbation.”

      That’s ridiculous to say that ONLY those who connect material prosperity with God’s approbation would see wealth as evidence of wisdom. People all over the world, theists and atheists alike, respect those who are successful, can pay their bills, and own property. That’s because there is a clear logical connection between a person’s material standing in the community and his being faithful and responsible with money.

      When you want to hire someone to remodel the kitchen in your home, are you going to go downtown and look for a homeless guy sitting on a park bench to come oversee the job for you, or will you go to the office building where the man owns property and has a track record of doing good work? That is a rhetorical question. I know the answer. You won’t be putting the homeless guy in charge of your project.

      Mike Appleton wrote: “Some of the wisest men who ever lived have been among the poorest.”

      Perhaps. It is true that there are always exceptions to any generalization, but if you gather up all the impoverished in our society and have them vote and contrast their vote with all the property owners, I suspect you will get very different results. That is not to say that the impoverished should not have a vote. They are being governed just like everybody else and therefore should have a vote. But they should not cancel out the vote of those who actually know how society works and can best determine the course of direction that would lead to greater prosperity and happiness for everyone.

      The whole problem here is the equality mantra. When Jefferson wrote that all men were created equal, he meant that all men had equal value before the law and that all men had the same basic fundamental rights. He did not mean that all men were equally good at governance. He did not mean that all men are equally wise. It is clear from his comments about Black people that he believed men were not racially equal either. He wrote about Blacks being especially gifted in song, but on the other hand, not given to good governance and somewhat lazy in working. In discussing the vote, he favored property ownership as the criteria because that was who paid taxes. It also gave an equal opportunity for women to vote. Instead, others argued for universal and equal suffrage, so that is what eventually won out. However, that discussion path led to this situation where initially women were denied the right to vote.

      Just to be clear, I do not argue that the wealthier a person is, the greater his vote should be. I simply think that a property owner who assumes the responsibility to pay property taxes has a greater stake in his community than the renter. Therefore, that person’s vote should be given greater weight. I think education is another criteria that can be used to weight a person’s vote. The people who are voted into office usually have education behind them. When was the last time we voted a President into office who was uneducated? We don’t vote for such people because it is self evident that education betters a man and makes him able to make more intelligent decisions. You know that if you had a Harvard educated man running next to a man with a third grade education, all other things being equal, you are much more likely to vote for the educated man. You inherently have more trust in the educated man. Yet when it comes to a person’s qualifications to vote, you ignore this self evident connection. Such is completely illogical. There is a con game going on about voting. Most people just haven’t awaken to it.

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