Electoral Rights of PWDs

Article 29 (a) of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) talks about the participation of Persons with Disability in Political Life. In line with the spirit of article 29 of the CRPD, “States parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others”, Government of Pakistan has also introduced amendments in the legal framework governing electoral rights of PWDs. These amendments have been introduced through Election Act 2017 and Election Rules, 2017.

Following are the provisions for the political inclusion of persons with disabilities:

Section 69 of Election Rules 2017: (Assistance to a voter with a physical disability who cannot travel)

A voter with a physical disability as mentioned in clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 93, shall authorize one of his family members, namely father, mother, spouse, son, or daughter, as the case may be, who is a voter registered in that electoral area, to get the declaration attested from a Gazetted or a Commissioned officer: Provided that the authorization shall be accompanied with a copy of the National Identity Card of the voter bearing logo of disability issued by the National Database and Registration Authority)

Section 74 of Chapter V of the Conduct of Election Rules 2017:  Manner of marking ballot paper if the voter is incapacitated)

 (1) If a voter is totally blind or physically otherwise so incapacitated as to require the help of a companion, the Presiding Officer may allow him to be accompanied by a companion of his choice who is not less than eighteen years of age; and in case the disability is such that the voter cannot mark the ballot paper himself, the person accompanying the voter may mark the ballot paper indicated by the voter: Provided that the person allowed to accompany the voter shall not himself be a candidate or an agent of a candidate.

(2) If the ballot paper is to be marked by the companion, the Presiding Officer shall make it clear to him that he must mark the ballot paper for the candidate of the voter‘s choice and that he must maintain the secrecy of voting by not divulging to anyone the voter‘s choice of candidate.

 (3) The Presiding Officer shall maintain a list of voters on whose behalf the ballot papers have been marked by their companions.

Section 114 of Chapter VII of the Conduct of Election Rules 2017: Manner of marking ballot paper if the voter is incapacitated

(1) If a voter is blind or is physically or otherwise so incapacitated as to require the help of a companion, the Returning Officer may allow him to be accompanied by a companion of his choice who is of not less than eighteen years of age; and, in case the disability is such that the voter cannot mark the ballot paper himself, the person accompanying the voter may mark the ballot paper as indicated by the voter: Provided that the person allowed to accompany the voter shall not himself be a candidate or his agent.

(2) If the ballot paper is to be marked by the companion, the Returning Officer shall make it clear to him that he must mark the ballot paper for the candidate of the voter‘s choice and that he must not divulge to anyone the voter‘s choice of candidate.

(3) The Returning Officer shall maintain a list of voters on whose behalf the ballot papers have been marked by their companions.

Section 48 of Election Act, 2017: Enrolment of non-Muslims, etc.

 (1) The Commission shall take special measures for registration of non-Muslims, persons with disabilities, and transgender citizens in the electoral rolls as voters.

(2) The measures under sub-section (1) shall include coordinated action with the National Database and Registration Authority to expedite the issuance of National Identity Cards for non-Muslims, persons with disabilities, and transgender citizens.

(3) No activity is undertaken in connection with an election by the Commission or National Database and Registration Authority, as the case may be, shall be delayed, postponed, or otherwise affected in any manner whatsoever merely on the ground of any measure being taken under this section or section 47.

Publications

S.NoPublication TitlePublisherLink
1Electoral Rights of PWDsCPDI
2Electoral and Political Rights of Persons with Disabilities in PakistanCPDI