It is true that democracy depends on the participation of people in public office, regardless of their gender or disability. But in Pakistan, there is a dilemma in the country’s political sphere which means that persons with disabilities should be treated as dysfunctional liability and their right to hold any public office should be disregarded.
The ICT Right of Persons with disability Part II 3 (I) states that The, the government shall ensure that every person with disability shall have a right to be respected for his individual dignity and lead a decent life with equal opportunity to participate in educational. Social, economic, cultural and all other activities in the society without any discrimination. However, the words we say and read do not correspond to the reality around us. People with disabilities are really neglected and sometimes they are treated as second class citizens, which is why their rights are being compromised.
When we talk about women with disabilities (WDDs) in the electoral process, we come to a very broad debate. This will include pre-election arrangements and Election Day arrangements. The first thing that comes to mind is that women with disabilities have to issue a national identity card with their voter registration. There is a dire need of having separate registration counters for issuance of the National Identity Card and Voter Registration, modified polling booths as per the requirements of persons with disabilities such as low in height polling booths, magnified glass, large pens, and capable infrastructure should be set up so that the WWD can fulfill their responsibilities. If we look at how these measures can be implemented to facilitate these women, it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan to develop a comprehensive strategy aimed at increasing the participation of women with disabilities in the electoral process. In addition, political parties should be encouraged to include persons with disabilities as candidates in their leadership roles. They should not be ignored for something they were born with or an accident with. Auditing selected polling stations and disqualifying them can be done to get rid of this major obstacle in the way of political participation of persons with disabilities.
Several steps have been taken to increase the political participation of women with disabilities. The ECP developed the GDWG Group in 2017, which will amend existing laws and encourage WWDs to participate in the electoral process as voters, candidates, election administrators and observers. It is hoped that with these initiatives, women with disabilities will be able to participate in the electoral process in the country as well as in the future.
June 24, 2021