News / Asia

    Pakistani Women Determined to Vote Despite Threats

    Pakistani Women Determined to Vote Despite Threatsi
    X
    May 09, 2013 11:27 PM
    Women make up roughly half of Pakistan’s population, but their participation in national elections in the southwestern province of Baluchistan historically has been much lower. Sharon Behn reports that, this time, women here appear determined to make a difference in the May 11th vote for a new national assembly.
    Sharon Behn
    Although women make up roughly half of Pakistan’s population, in the southwestern province of Baluchistan their turnout for national elections has been much lower.
     
    Committed to making a difference in upcoming elections for a new national assembly, however, some women say they are determined to have their votes counted on May 11.

    In this volatile and conservative southwestern province, political candidate Ruqqaya Hashmi said she is a role model; as a woman and member of the targeted Hazara Shi’ite minority, she said her campaign carries considerable risk.
     
    “I have been receiving threats for the last few days now," she said, declining to specify who is making the threats. "My movements now [are] limited. I came here [under] camouflage; I changed my clothes, I changed my driver, I changed my car.”
     
    The election-related attacks and threats have made some women voters like Humaira Yasmeen nervous about going to the polls.
     
    “Given the situation here, women cannot move freely. Going out is a problem," she said. "It will be very difficult for women to cast their votes, because the conditions are such that if we leave the house and there is no security, what are we going to do? It is risky, life-threatening. And, nothing is more important than life."
     
    Another challenge, said Farah Naz, a worker with a non-governmental organization, is getting women to vote autonomously.
     
    “The biggest problem among women is they are not taught how to vote, they depend on their men," she said. "They do exactly as they are told by their men. They should cast their votes independently.”
     
    With the campaigning curtailed by violence, candidates are reaching women voters through TV and radio advertisements, instead of holding large rallies.
     
    University students in Quetta such as Kanza Shakeel, who said she is fed up with insecurity and unemployment, appear determined to have their voices heard.
     
    “The old leaders, who are just leading Pakistan from last years, I don’t want that they came again," she said. "I just want this kind of change: that new people [are elected], not the old people who are just doing and just promoting themselves by commercial, paid commercial. I am just hating them.”
     
    With low turnout expected on election day, those women who brave the threats to go to the polls could have a larger influence in shaping the country’s next government.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
    May 09, 2013 10:36 PM
    We are brave peoples, spite of all these difficulties we are hopeful about tomorrow. This is the duty of LAZY GOVT to provide safety and security to common people. They are taking millions of salary and fringe benefits each year from poor pakistani tax money. Atleast they should feel shame what they are doing with poor pakistani.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.