For Pakistan’s 2018 general election, women in some areas of the country are able to vote for the first time. And in celebration, voters and spectators alike are sharing photos and videos of women lined up to vote.
Today, Pakistanis across the country voted for a prime minister, choosing between cricket legend Imran Khan and three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (According to Sky News, Sharif was arrested on corruption charges earlier this month.) Additionally, nearly 200 women are campaigning for local positions, and 13 transgender candidates are running as well.
In the past 40 years, women have been unable to vote in Upper Dir, a conservative district in Northern Pakistan. Women were told that election day violence was “too dangerous.” However, more than 9 million women were newly registered to vote prior to this election, the Guardian reported.
One particular photo, taken by Pakistani journalist Iftikhar Firdous, shows women walking to go cast their first votes in a northern region of Pakistan.
Women in Bayzai sub-division of Mohmand Tribal District (ex-Fata), 5 kilometres from the Afghan border got out to vote for the first time. (My hometown as well) #GeneralElection2018 pic.twitter.com/uTgBr2xMQ3
— Iftikhar Firdous (@IftikharFirdous) July 25, 2018
Another shot shows women from North Waziristan voting for the first time as well.
For the first time in North Waziristan women are coming out to vote, “ Ayaz Khan, DC Tribal District NWA, tells Geo’s Rasool Dawar. (Image by Rasool Dawar) pic.twitter.com/59G6nSxaUD
— Benazir Shah (@Benazir_Shah) July 25, 2018
Many have responded with excitement for the historic day.
— Fifi Haroon (@fifiharoon) July 25, 2018
reclaiming their democratic right. ❤ https://t.co/oa41EYLt0I
— Nafisa Zaheer (@ZaheerNafisa) July 25, 2018
This image. Incredible. https://t.co/mQ1BKKGNEr
— Diaa Hadid ضياء حديد (@diaahadid) July 25, 2018
What a photo..
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) July 25, 2018
Appreciated, credit goes to all who made it possible to get them out for voting.
— @Selected (@selectors_) July 25, 2018
Way to go sisters!
— Mariana Baabar Pashteen (@MarianaBaabar) July 25, 2018
THESE ARE SUCH POWERFUL IMAGES https://t.co/etG2r8bPBl
— Ifrah (@Ifrahaabbasi) July 25, 2018
Despite the celebration, the day’s election still faced violence, as at least 28 people died and 30 were injured as a result of a bombing near a polling station in Quetta, Pakistan. ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.
Other tweets encouraged women to come out for the vote, while additional photos showed queues of women waiting to participate in the election.
— Maiza Hameed Gujjar (@MaizaHameed) July 25, 2018
— CPDI (@cpdi_pakistan) July 25, 2018
— Safdar Dawar (@DawarSafdar) July 25, 2018
BuzzFeed News reported that Pakistan ended this de facto women ban in October, and election officials have mandated that at least 10 percent of all votes cast must be from women. However, that hasn’t stopped some men from attempting to prevent women from voting, with some reports show men are turning women away.
Videos, too, captured the resilience of Pakistani women who were dedicated to voting. This video shows women from that Upper Dir area entering their polling place to vote for the first time.
Footage of women voting in highly conservative Upper Dir, in North Pakistan, for the first time in forty years. They were banned, supposedly, because gunfights on polling day made it too risky. Wonderful to see the return pic.twitter.com/4L3o855kvq
— Memphis Barker (@memphisbarker) July 25, 2018
Another video shows a daughter driving her mother to a polling station.
Daughter taking her mother to polling station on a motorbike in Karachi. These stories make me so happy pic.twitter.com/iFLT7zjwX6
— Umer (@UmerTariiq) July 25, 2018
This video, for example, shows an elder woman being escorted into the polling place by security.
A commitment to democracy! An elderly woman is out to cast her vote in #NankanaSahib NA-118 and PP-134.#GeneralElection2018 #ElectionPakistan2018 #ElectionPakistan #GE2018 #PakistanElections2018 #GeneralElections2018 pic.twitter.com/eaoUfis3bv
— CPDI (@cpdi_pakistan) July 25, 2018
And across the country, women voters showed off their involvement in democracy by posting photos of the ink on their thumbs. The semi-permanent election ink is used to prevent voter fraud.
— Rida Baloch (@RidaBaloch) July 25, 2018
Voting is not just my right it is my national responsibility.
Today I cast my vote in General Election 2018 for my future and for my country's progress, I'm so grateful, happy and hopeful for Pakistan's betterment.#GeneralElection2018 pic.twitter.com/oeRMSQulnp
— Urooj Ali (@UrOoj__Ali) July 25, 2018
— Samina Peerzada (@SaminaSays) July 25, 2018
Polling places closed at 6 p.m. today, and the results will be announced Thursday.
H/T BuzzFeed News