Strengthening Women's role in Rule of Law


UNDP assisted police force to train its security officials in an effort to increase public security for the May 11 general elections. Photo: UNDP Pakistan/Fatimah Inayet

"Obedience to rule of law is imperative on elections day. We must ensure that no electoral violence or conflict takes place on elections day," said Anila Kanwal.

Anila Kanwal, 20, has been working as a police constable for almost three years. Based in Manshera, the same city where she grew up, she always wanted to join the police force. Anila said, "I love my uniform. It gives me the motivation to do something good for people, especially women."

Highlights

  • More than 330,000 polling staff trained in Punjab.
  • Currently UNDP is assisting the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in raising awareness for rule of law.

Anila believes that without the support of her husband, she would not have been able to continue her job, especially after the birth of her daughter. Anila's job entails hectic hours, sometimes working for 48 hours without a break. Her time off duty is spent with her husband and daughter. Anila strongly advocates the police force as a viable work option for "determined and tough" women. She said, "Police duty is not for the fainthearted. Some of my scariest moments happened during night raids. You do not know what to expect when breaking in someone's house. It is scary but then, everything is in god's hands."

Anila is among the18,000 security officials who are being trained on mitigating electoral violence on elections day with support from UNDP. This is the first time ever in Pakistan that security officials are being trained for monitoring law and order on elections day. The training process informs security officials about electoral laws and code of conduct for the law enforcement agency as specified in the 'Representation of People Act 1976'. Security officials are given guidelines to ensure better coordination with the electoral staff of the Election Commission of Pakistan before, during and after the elections. The manual informs security officials about their roles and responsibilities on elections day as they will be placed in over 70,000 polling stations throughout Pakistan.

Anila, along with other women security officials will be on duty outside the women polling stations on elections day. As part of her training, Anila will guide women voters in forming queues at the polling station, make sure no one disrupts the voting process or tries to harass polling offcials and influence voters' decisions. Learning through various role playing activities during the training, Anila is now familiar with the different sections of law that are applicable under various scenarios. Speaking about the training, Anila said it was very useful as she learnt about her main tasks on elections day. She said, "Now I know that if someone tries to harass a voter, this would be a violation of the Representation of People Act 1976 and that person can be put behind bars for three months or fined up to thousand rupees. We have to make sure no violence occurs on 11 May.

Anila hopes the new government will improve the economic conditions of the country, "I hope our salaries also increase so we can keep up with the ever rising ination."

UNDP is providing assistance to the election commission in areas including training of polling staff and security personnel, results management and voter education through a three-year electoral cycle support project supported by the Governments of Australia, Norway, Japan, United States, Switzerland and the European Union. With the support of UNDP, ECP has launched a voter-education campaign targeted at inclusion of youth and women, as well as a new elections results management system for upcoming national and provincial elections.

UNDP is assisting the police force to train its security officials in an effort to mitigate electoral violence and increase public security for the May 11 general elections. More than 18,000 security officials are being trained in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, FATA and Islamabad Capital Territory who will be engaged throughout the country on elections day.

Projects and initiatives

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