Mohmand Agency, which is a district in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, is one of the most supremely conservative societies of Pakistan. This time around, the district has witnessed an impressive and a much unexpected turnout of women. This is a first in the history of Pakistan, along with many other things such as the democratic transition of governments.
Pakistani women in tribal areas are mostly deprived of almost all their rights. They are forced to obey the orders of the male members of the family and society. Those who try to go against the orders are mostly punished according to the local extremist customs and traditions. Voting is a right that was, up until these elections, considered to be too unimportant by women in urban areas. Therefore the situation in tribal areas was far much worse. Not only the women did not vote themselves, some of them were even forbidden to do so by the elders of the conservative tribal society.
But today, during Pakistan General Elections 2013, women clad in their traditional apparel were reported to have come in a recorded-breaking amount to the polling stations which has been predicted to cross the 10% mark in one of the constituencies of the area. A rush of voters was also witnessed in other conservative areas like Ekka Ghund, Khowazai and Bazai. Previously, women in these areas had been barred from voting.
Covered elections in Pak. The courage of women who defy clerics to vote, and all who turn out despite blasts is truly humbling. #pakistan— anita anand (@tweeter_anita) May 11, 2013
While women in Mohmand Agency managed to cast their votes for the first time ever, the situation in other tribal areas has not been so well. Women in the northwestern tribal district of North Waziristan, a stronghold of the militant organization Taliban, were stopped from voting.
The effort made by the women in Mohmand Agency remains a very positive example in the entire voting process of the country. It is indeed a very strong message for the whole nation of Pakistan that the citizens, including the ones living in conservative tribal societies, need a change in the form of strong leadership. They have not lost hope and are ready to go against all militants and terrorists to achieve their destiny for a peaceful Pakistan.
Whoever wins these elections, they are a definite win for women, who were often in the majority of voters. (Except where barred)— Amn N. (@AmnNasir) May 11, 2013