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. With your response to Mike Appleton, David, you’ve just proven everything he said about oligarchs and moral elitists. Really David, people like yourself are chipping away at the most Fundamental right people have in a representative democracy, the vote. Why? It appears to be based on a deeply held belief of superiority, which ignores the words of our Founders, “All men are created equal”. Your elitism is a reflection of conservative ‘values’, sadly.

  2. davidm:

    1. The fact that a right is regarded as fundamental does not mean that it is not subject to restrictions or curtailment under certain circumstances. Although I would certainly not object to permitting prisoners to vote, I do not find it unreasonable that the temporary loss of the right to vote should accompany a determination that one has temporarily lost certain protections afforded by the social contract through the repudiation of its obligations.

    2. Your views of legal positivism and natural law theory suffer from the absolutism of disappointed expectations. Neither philosophical school is monolithic and in fact our system of laws combines elements of both in many variations.

    3. The subject of all law is the treatment of relational interests. The sources of the law include everything from legislative whim to ancient customs. One of the functions of lawyers is to develop systems which are coherent, consistent and generally acceptable.

    4. We espouse the notion that government requires the consent of the governed because we view the relationship as contractual. The right to vote is fundamental because it provides the truest expression of that consent. Comments you (and others) have made from time to time suggest dissatisfaction with broadly based suffrage. Indeed, I gather that you would not hesitate to restrict voting to the better sort of people, meaning those with property or wealth or of a particular level of educational attainment. Oligarchs always believe that they are the most qualified to order society. And moral elitists believe that they are the best judges of the happiness of the people. But consent is a messy business because it has to be if it is to retain public legitimacy.

    1. Mike Appleton wrote: “The right to vote is fundamental because it provides the truest expression of that consent.”

      I do not believe this assumption has ever been established. Except for the Presidential election, most people don’t vote. In the Presidential election, which has the highest voter turnout, about 40% of the people still do not vote. So how is that a true expression of consent?

      Even among those who do vote, people choose to vote for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes homeless people vote because somebody offers them food or something else if they do. Sometimes people vote out of spite, to cancel out the vote of somebody they don’t like. For example, a rebellious 18 year old might vote contrary to his parents just to laugh at his power to be contrary. Often people don’t even know who they are voting for. They just vote because somebody told them it was their civil duty. They look at the names on the ballot and have no idea who the people are.

      Mike Appleton wrote: “I gather that you would not hesitate to restrict voting to the better sort of people, meaning those with property or wealth or of a particular level of educational attainment. Oligarchs always believe that they are the most qualified to order society. And moral elitists believe that they are the best judges of the happiness of the people.”

      I think good successful people are a better judge of what is better for the community than a drunk who can’t even pay his rent. Yeah, I think the successful person’s vote should count more than the drunk. I think those who own property have more invested in their community than the drifter who drops in a community for a few months before moving on to another community to run from bill collectors or the police for crimes he committed. The property owner also assumes an obligation and responsibility to pay taxes on his property. That makes him more invested in his community and the government he pays. So there are logical reasons why the votes of property owners should have greater weight. Ultimately when the vote is given to everyone equally, the votes don’t mean a thing. It is not about me being an oligarch or an elitist. It is about a rational approach to voting that actually gives it meaning.

      Voting today is a big joke. The people with the most money to buy signs and television coverage to get their name out in front of people are the ones who win elections because all they have to do is affect the perception of ignoramuses enough to make them check the box next to his name. Voting hardly ever measures the consent of the governed. We have election after election and half the people hate who gets elected and why they get elected.

      If voting were truly a fundamental right, and if it truly measured the consent of the governed, then full democracy would be the ideal form of government. Unfortunately, history has shown that democracies always fail. Many people are not wise enough to know what makes good government and who they would be most happy under. That is why our government was created originally as a republic. With various Constitutional Amendments, we have moved dangerously away from being a republic and we have become more democratic. Democracy with universal and equal suffrage has weakened our government.

  3. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler


    America was established as a restricted-vote republic. About 6% of the population voted in early elections.



    a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. any body of persons viewed as a commonwealth. a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.


    Ben Franklin, we gave you “…a republic, if you can keep it.”

    America “couldn’t keep” its restricted-vote republic.

    China has adopted the model as defined above.

    China has a restricted vote.

    China has representative government.

    Whatever you can misrepresent can be observed as practice in 1789 America.



  4. The right or privilege carries with it a responsibility which few take seriously. This lack of responsibility is expressed most graphically by the fact that no more than half eligible voters in the US vote in major elections and far less than that in minor ones. Another indication of the perversity of the democratic process in the US is that fact that most Americans have little to no knowledge of what the issues are and of the positions of the candidates on these issues. Almost all if not all that is expressed during a campaign as well as while in office by our so called leaders is nothing more than one liners designed to touch the nerves of the voters. Vague concepts and hypocrisy is all that one gets to hear. Finally, and perhaps the most disgusting perversion contained in as well as wrapping up the American Way of Democracy is that no candidate is not beholden to the finances of private interest groups as well as individuals. The candidate is in the face of the voter based on how much time money can buy, not substance. The candidate, if elected is nothing more than a puppet of the oligarchs. It is not surprising that such complacency exists with such an ignorant electorate, an electorate designed that way by those that really run the country, the select few.

    The solution to the perversion of the American system of elections and government is to disallow all private funding of candidates. Rely instead on the substance of the candidates instead. This works in other countries. The President should be elected based on his or her principles and without any affiliation to either the Republican or Democrat parties. The Congress and Senate should be elected directly by the people as representatives of whatever extreme of liberal or conservative values. Ideally there should be four parties: extreme left and right and middle left and right. This would better represent the American people. The Presidency would be as it should be an arbiter between all four points of view. This would result in a middle left or middle right President who would not be beholden to money or parties. This would also force the representatives to cooperate as in order to stay in power they would have to perform and in order to perform they would have to cooperate.

    The present system has not been working for some time and is working more and more against the people. The founding fathers would turn in their graves if they could see the perverse circus that is the American system of elections and government. One would have to be an imbecile to believe that they would not want to see the system they started evolve with the times. One would have to be extremely obtuse to believe that the founding fathers would agree with the way the government of the country they founded is put up for sale before every election.

    1. issac – the dead vote consistently and in alpha order in Chicago.

  5. davidm:

    No one has ever accused the Supreme Court of consistency on the issue of voting rights. You will recall Bush v. Gore. In any event, my belief is that strict scrutiny ought always to be applied to voting rights cases. I am also of the belief that the refusal to restore voting rights to those who have completed the punishment terms of their convictions is unconstitutional. However, I believe that I am in a minority in that regard. Besides, we live in a society which loves to punish and which is never convinced that criminals are treated severely enough.

    1. Mike Appleton wrote: “I am also of the belief that the refusal to restore voting rights to those who have completed the punishment terms of their convictions is unconstitutional.”

      If you really believe voting was a fundamental right, then you would also argue that convicted felons be allowed to vote from prison. I believe that Maine and Vermont allow this. Why would you not be for this if voting was a fundamental right?

  6. Here is Cornell’s definition of “fundamental rights” which are afforded protection from government encroachment, identified in the Constitution or via Due Process:


    And here is the definition of “natural rights” bestowed by nature or God that no one can take away:


    Not being a lawyer, I admit that I sometimes confuse the two. In order to be treated equally with men under the law, women have the fundamental right to vote. The right to self determination is a natural right of which the right to vote plays a part. Otherwise, the one vote per household version of representative government would pass over widows, unmarried women, single mothers, and any other household without a man, and as well would give women no voice over matters that concern their gender.

    I do agree that the court does not seem to scrutinize voting, as there are very few cases of voter fraud that ever make it to court, despite the fact than any reporter can interview people on camera and verify that illegal aliens vote in every election. (check out GOOGLE for examples of these videos.) I also agree with Ronald Reagan’s assessment that the most terrifying 9 words in the English language are, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

    1. Karen S wrote: “Here is Cornell’s definition of “fundamental rights” …”

      Cornell’s definition is a very poor definition by a positivist legal school. It uses phrases like “recognized by the Supreme Court” and “rights are specifically identified in the Constitution.” That is because they believe all rights come from the Constitution, something many of our framers did not believe in. There was serious objection to including a Bill of Rights because they were afraid people would wrongly believe that rights came from the Constitution. They wanted the Constitution only to acknowledge certain rights and not to be definitive list of rights.

      Karen S wrote: “Not being a lawyer, I admit that I sometimes confuse the two.”

      The lawyers are the ones who confuse us on this matter, because some operate under the positivist philosophy and others operate under Natural Law Theory. The positivist philosophy does not recognize natural rights. So for them, a fundamental right is simply a right specified in the Constitution and/or affirmed by the Supreme Court.

      I think the positivist philosophy is a dangerous legal philosophy. I believe in natural law. For those of us in the natural law camp, there is no difference between fundamental right, natural right, basic right, or inalienable right (although some argue the difference between inalienable and unalienable rights, but not me). A fundamental right is any right that you have which no government can rightfully take away from you. We fought the war of Independence on the basis that our fundamental rights were being denied to us.

      Freedom of speech is a fundamental right. You have the right to speak your mind and express your thoughts, even if somebody does not like it. If any government arrests you because they don’t like the content of your speech (for example, you are criticizing the government, the President, etc.), that government is wrong. They have violated that fundamental right, and although we have the First Amendment to acknowledge that right, you don’t need that Amendment in order to have that right. You are born with that right. It is an inalienable right. It is a basic right. It is a natural right. It is a fundamental right.

      Voting, on the other hand, is not a fundamental right. Governments can choose whatever method they like to determine the consent of the governed. There exists a basic human right to be governed only by those institutions that are looking out for our good. Democratic governments do this through voting. But if a government had no voting whatsoever, as long as the people are happy, there is no violation of anybody’s fundamental rights. If a government decided that only property owners would be allowed to vote, regardless of sex, race, etc., then that is fine too. Nobody’s rights are being violated.

      Look through the standard list of universal fundamental rights:

      Right to self-determination
      Right to liberty
      Right to due process of law
      Right to freedom of movement
      Right to freedom of thought
      Right to freedom of religion
      Right to freedom of expression
      Right to peaceably assemble
      Right to freedom of association

      These are so different from the so-called right to vote. The right to vote comes from positivist law. It is not a fundamental right.

  7. I recommend the movie “Iron Jawed Angels” about the women’s suffrage movement.

    What I find very interesting is that the greatest movement to get the vote for us was the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, which wanted women to have the vote so they could act like “citizen-mothers” and cure society of its ills – alcoholism, tobacco, the exploitation of working women by men, and other social problems. They viewed most problems caused by society rather than individuals. They also worked for World Peace, a “living wage”, and an “8 hour work day”, all in the name of Christianity.


  8. What brave women. Considering what happens to women who criticize repressive extremist Islamic regimes, they are taking a great risk. I honor their courage.

    Po can drone on about how women are respected and have more rights under Islamic law, but the facts do not support him anywhere that women actually do live under an Islamic theocracy. Sadly, extremism is successfully sweeping the region. It reminds me of the brain drain out of Europe that gave us such a treasure as Einstein when extremism reared its ugly head.

  9. David, Democrats are hyper sensitive about their Democrat[ic] Party. I think they need some self esteem help from their MN. Senator Al “Stuart Smalley” Franken. I know the difference, and use the Democrat/Democratic term properly. ONCE, I used it improperly and I was attacked by the brown shirts who patrolled this blog. I was called a Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove sycophant. I do not listen to Limbaugh and despise Rove. You folks need to lighten up!!

  10. davidm:

    1. Your assertion that voting is not a basic right is popular with dominionists. However, numerous Supreme Court cases, as well as Congress, have declared the right to vote as fundamental.

    2. The correct name has been Democratic Party since 1844. That news has not reached Rush Limbaugh as yet, but I had assumed until this moment that all sentient persons were aware of that fact.

    1. Mike Appleton wrote: “… numerous Supreme Court cases, as well as Congress, have declared the right to vote as fundamental.”

      This is one of those areas where the Supreme Court has led us astray. If the right to vote were fundamental, then why are some States still allowed to forbid felons from voting? Why are some States allowed residency requirements? Why are 17 year olds allowed the right to life, but not the alleged fundamental right to vote? Was it really a crime of the government when people had to be 21 years old to vote? What if we passed a Constitutional Amendment to raise the voting age to 25 because of the increasing immaturity of young people. Would that be a crime? Would it be denying citizens a fundamental right? Are we only allowed to lower the voting age, but never raise it?

      This entire idea of voting being a fundamental right is a big snow job by the government to fool people into thinking that the government is doing something for them. Big brother is going to make sure that nobody takes away your basic right to vote! Yet in practice, the court never uses strict scrutiny about voting. They talk out of both sides of their mouth on this issue. It is all a universal con job. Some people are waking up.

  11. David, David, David

    “Women did not have the vote when our country was established. Nothing was wrong with that. Most women then were married to a man who voted for their family.”

    Now I know you are putting us on. No one can be that retrograde, or perhaps???

    If you are that obtuse, try wrapping your head around the idea of a basic right that is also a privilege, that comes with the responsibility to use the brain. Take a deep breath.

    1. issac – my wife and I vote so differently that we cancel each other out. 🙂

        1. david – yes, it is all I can do to keep from kicking her out of the car on the way to the polling place. 😉

  12. Voting is not a basic right. That is Democrat Party propaganda. Voting is a privilege. It is merely a way that government assesses the consent of the governed. The more the vote is expanded, the less useful it is as a measure of the consent of the governed. Voting also is a form of deception. It leads people to think that their opinion matters. It is a way that government controls people. Women did not have the vote when our country was established. Nothing was wrong with that. Most women then were married to a man who voted for their family.

  13. I did not realize that Pakistan was an ally. I am sure next time we are at war they will send a force.

  14. I’ve always felt that there were good features in every religion .
    When the “infammatory video” caused Mid East riots, and OF COURSE, Benghazi according to the Obama/Clinton/Rice party line, numerous muslins were chanting “Obama go to Hell, Hollywood go to hell”.
    I turned to my girlfriend watching this with me and explained that “There is some good in every religion”

  15. Incredibly brave women. It’s a curse to be born a woman into such societies.

  16. Another of our wonderful allies. Let’s send them more money shall we? Obama needs to disengage from the ME immediately.

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