'Haram' to Cast Votes for Women: Pakistan Candidate Stokes Controversy Ahead of Polls
Haroon Sultan, who has served as minister for social welfare in the previous tenure of the PML-N government, said he would follow the directions of religion and abstain from casting a vote for any female candidates as it is considered forbidden in Islam.
Sultan, who has served as minister for social welfare in the previous tenure of the PML-N government in Punjab, is contesting elections from the National Assembly constituency NA-184 against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's female candidate Zehra Basit Sultan Bukhari, who is also reportedly his sister-in-law.
Addressing a rally in Muzaffargarh, his constituency, Sultan said he would follow the directions of religion and abstain from casting a vote to any female candidates as it is considered “haram” (forbidden in Islam), The News reported. “I will work under the commands of Allah and His messenger...and will desist from doing the contrary,” he added.
Pakistan People’s Party has fielded Nawaz Iftikhar Khan in this constituency. PML-N is led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year in the Panama Papers case.
Voting is a constitutional right in Pakistan, but millions of women have been prevented from exercising their franchise by men using outdated customs.
The comment drew flak from users on social media who asked the party to cancel Sultan's candidature.
What a logic by Mr. Haroon Sultan, candidate of @pmln_org from Muzzafargarh. Imagine what will happen if he makes it to the Parliament. I expect @president_pmln to officially denounce his statement else we will all be forced to believe that its a party policy. @nighatdad pic.twitter.com/VukFXwi7kw— Pansota (@Pansota1) 3 July 2018
@MaryamNSharif your candidate from Muzaffargarh NA-184, Haroon Sultan, believes that, “aurat ko vote dena haram hai,” and has publicly said so. Will you take action against this sick mindset that your party is supporting?— Marium Chaudhry (@MariumCh) 2 July 2018
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