In 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