Women Can't Vote in this Afghan Village in Kashmir

News article, posted 03.24.2010, from India, in:
Express India

Gutli Bagh (Kangan) In this Afghan village in Valley, democracy has only half meaning – women here don’t vote. This village in Ganderbal district – Gutli Bagh – in the foothills of Harmukh range is home to over 5,000 Pashtun’s who have migrated from Afghanistan around 150 years ago.

And on poll day on Thursday when the Pashtun men were casting their vote at the polling stations, their women were sitting at home. “Our women do not vote,” said Abdul Kareem, an elderly villager from Gutli Bagh. “It is not that our women didn’t vote only during this election. They have never voted.”

In fact, the Pashtuns living in the village claim that the main reason for not allowing women to vote is that it is their tradition. “How can they (women) vote when they have to prove their identity,” said another resident Bashaarat Hussain. “The women of the village usually don’t come out of their homes and they have a limited role in any decision making.”

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