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Attempts to deprive women of right to vote ‘unacceptable’, says PPP’s Sherry Rehman

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PPP leader Sherry Rehman alleges that FAFEN observers have been removed from polling stations. The News/via Geo.tv/Files

ISLAMABAD: PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said Sunday any attempts to deprive women of their right to vote in the Gilgit Baltistan Election 2020 are “unacceptable”.

Noting that she was “deeply concerned” over the “deliberate restrictions on women’s voting” in the Gilgit Baltistan Election 2020, the PPP leader called for GB Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shehbaz Khan to immediately intervene and resolve the issue.

Sherry Rehman also voiced worry over alleged rigging at the polling stations, alleging that the observers associated with the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), a non-profit NGO, had been removed from polling stations.

“FAFEN observers should be at the polling stations during the counting of votes” and “should be permitted to remain at the polling stations”, she said, adding that there were 600 observers.

‘Flagrant rigging’

“The absence of observers at the polling station raises questions about the transparency of the election,” she said, warning that such incidents could damage the credibility of the Gilgit Baltistan Election 2020.

Earlier in the day, the PPP leader had raised the issue of the FAFEN observers allegedly not being let inside the polling stations on Twitter, calling for the Election Commission to take note.

“How are some form 45s filled before polling closes! Let observers into the polling stations and GB Election Commission, act NOW! This is open, flagrant rigging,” she wrote.

On the other hand, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in a statement had also called on the Election Commission to “make the process of voting and counting of votes transparent”.

Maryam praised the people of Gilgit Baltistan for weathering the cold temperatures to vote. “The wholehearted participation of women in the Gilgit Baltistan Election 2020 is welcome,” she said.

Additional reporting by Nausheen Yusuf in Rawalpindi

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