February 5, 2024
Voicepk.net took a deep dive into the manifestos of Pakistan’s three major political parties: scouring through an unending scroll of text provided by the PTI, getting a performance report along with promises for the future from the PML-N’s document, and marvelling at the comprehensiveness of the PPP’s human rights focus.
We examine the promises made by political parties concerning women’s rights and their plan to implement those reforms should they assume power.
The three main political parties on the run for elections pledge to empower women economically. The PPP mentions gender responsive budgeting, enhanced social safety nets, vocational training and gender inclusive land reforms.
The PML-N is perhaps more specific in this regard. The party promises to include five percent quota for women-run businesses in all economic and industrial zones and implement measures to eliminate the gender pay gap. It would also provide insurance to every girl child upon birth under the ‘Beti Ka Tahafuz, Qom Ka Tahafuz’ programme, which would mature when the girl turns 18 years of age and after completing minimum education.
Similar to the PPP and PML-N, the PTI asserts its commitment to developing a framework that distinctly outlines property rights, ensures transparency in land registration, and safeguards inheritance rights. What sets it apart is its unique promise to resolve cases of violation of women’s hereditary rights within six months. The party pledges to address issues stemming from divorce in family courts within a year. The PTI goes further to extend rights to widows and minor children, particularly in urban and agricultural properties. In an effort to encourage families to postpone marriages, the party has committed to providing jobs for young women who complete their education.
The PPP promises pregnant and lactating women better access to healthcare by improving basic health units. It would create better family planning and reproductive health awareness.
The party talks about establishing clinics for women at every DHQ and THQ and provide essential family planning services at tertiary hospitals. It also promises to control Maternal Mortality Rates, especially in Balochistan and Sindh.
The party aims to enhance women’s access to healthcare, with a specific focus on rural areas, ensure that services are tailored to the unique health needs of women. It emphasizes the benefits of family planning and commits to providing reproductive healthcare facilities. The party pledges to ensure access to quality healthcare for families with unmarried daughters and to establish mental health services.
The PPP holds that if the party comes into power, it would increase women’s political representation by raising the number of reserved seats for women from 17 percent to 33 percent in the national and provincial assemblies. The party would also increase female representation in parliamentary committees, corporate and commerce bodies, and judicial and civic institutions.
The party would ensure at least 30 percent representation of women in national and provincial cabinets and enact legislation to increase time-bound reserved seats for women from 17 percent to 33 percent across legislatures for the next six general elections. It would also increase representation of women as board members in public and private sectors; propose a constitutional amendment for time-bound reserved seats for women and change the modality from nomination to direct election.
Imran Khan’s party aims to ensure a minimum of 30 percent representation of women in both national and provincial cabinets. It plans to establish a 25 percent quota for women in political roles at all levels of governance.
Access to education
The party guarantees to ensure enrolment and attendance of girls in educational institutions as well as expand the number of schools for girls. It would provide quality health and sanitary facilities in schools to enable adolescent girls to continue their education. The PPP would incorporate digital literacy in the curriculum and reduce digital gender gap.
The Nawaz league, on the other hand, would ensure ongoing financial assistance for girls’ education and subsidised educational loans for higher studies, facilitate girls’ education through distance learning initiatives, recruit more female teachers, and utilise Pakistan’s existing public schools infrastructure part-time to educate and develop skills among adult women, including housewives.
The party is committed to implementing skill development programmes in modern agriculture, digital literacy, and entrepreneurship. It aims to support girls in pursuing education beyond middle school by providing scholarships or financial grants. The party plans to offer vocational training programmes to help girls develop skills and gain qualifications that will enhance their employability.
The PPP would address the CNIC registration of women as parent or guardian in cases of child adoption. It will strive for legal recognition of single parent particularly women led households.
It claims to expand Punjab women’s safety helpline (1043) to cover all of Pakistan and establish a separate cybercrime wing managed by female. To incentivize women’s participation in sports, the PML-N would provide sports facilities and female coaches. It would develop sports leagues at tehsil and provincial levels.
The party hopes to boost the number of female judges, especially in family courts; launch digital literacy campaigns to educate women on safe online practices; and emphasize the legal and social consequences of forced marriages and provide support to victims.