Civil Society in Pakistan have been actively taking active roles in elections and promotion of democracy. Traditionally, the Civil Society focused on human rights, minorities and women rights, and social development in rural communities. The fresh focus is on rule of law, representative government, and democracy as a universal value.
In 2012, many CSOs organized people’s convention on Voter for Social Change aiming to bring together general public, political parties, civil society and other state actors to address challenges and responsibility of each group to overcome electoral obstacles and challenges, while calling for democracy culture and credible electoral process with a multi-dimensional approach.
After the by-elections PK-95 constituency, Lower Dir, held on May 7, 2015, civil society organizations played a role in calling for women rights in elections by doing a petition as women were not allowed to vote. The Petition was initiated by human rights activists and was signed by activists from various non-governmental organizations including Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
In the near future, Election Commission of Pakistan will utilize more technology in the country’s election, as Bio-metric Voter Verification System (BVVS) was piloted in a by-election in Haripur. The Civil Society Organizations can play a significant roles in advocacy, raising awareness by showing international experience and best practices in electoral technologies among voters.
Fakhr-ul-Islam and Farmanullah, Civil Society and Democracy in Pakistan, JRSP Vol. 52, No 1, January-June, 2015, http://pu.edu.pk/images/journal/history/PDF-FILES/15-%20PC%20Farman%20Ullah_52-1-15.pdf.
Civil society challenges PK-95 election result, Dawn, May 12, 2015, http://www.dawn.com/news/1181449.
Nadia Fakhar, Democracy: Space for Civil Society, Pakvoter.com,http://www.pakvoter.com/blog/space-civil-society.
Pakistan: Civil society calls for democratic culture and credible electoral process in Pakistan, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, January 23, 2012, http://www.peacewomen.org/content/pakistan-civil-society-calls-democratic-culture-and-credible-electoral-process-pakistan.