Pakistan is blessed to have as many equally, if not more, talented intelligent and hard working women as men. We have Oscar as well as a Noble prize winning females in the country. We have Shiza Farhan, who added to the global recognition of Pakistani women’s talents by making it to Forbe’s list of 30 under 30 entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, when it comes to how well women fare in empowerment and decision making in general, the situation in Pakistan is not encouraging.
As per projected estimates, there are approximately 5.035 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Pakistan. Worrisome is the fact that only 14% of PWDs work, while the rest are all reliant upon family members for financial support. Even more worrying is that 1.4 million (28.09% of total PWDs) are children of school going age that do not have access to education. The question for us as a society is: are we doing enough to help facilitate the inclusion of these PWDs in the spectrum of normal life? The statistics presented, speak otherwise.
I, like tens of thousands of others, commute from Rawalpindi to Islamabad for work every day. Every day, I make my way through the hustle and bustle of heavy traffic to get to work on time; to meet my deadlines; to be productive. Men and women, old and young, some on their own vehicles, others on public transport, irrespective of whether it is raining or scorching heat, need to commute daily. We all need to get to our offices to do our work, to make a living. We need free movement to perform our lives as normal humans, to perform domestic chores, to function with optimum efficacy.
The most important ingredient of democracy is the electoral exercise in which people surrender their will to their chosen representatives providing them an opportunity of deliverance in a given time frame. Though the delivery period of governance has a mechanism of accountability through formal state institutions, however, performance appraisal of the elected representatives is also carried out to make them accountable to the people through an electoral exercise to complete the democratic cycle.
Nadia Fakhar at IFES Election Technologies team.