Political and religious parties Thursday barred women in parts of Nowshehra district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Phalia in Punjab during the by-elections, residents said.

They said all parties agreed the women should not cast votes in some polling stations, in a sheer violation of their assurances to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The election authorities in the region however say they have not received any such information. They said all election staff has been sent to women polling stations in Nowshehra.

There are also reports that women were also stopped from polling in Phalia in Punjab after a decision by the local elders.

The spokesman Election Commission in Islamabad has said that barring women from casting their votes is an offense.

He said that action will be taken if the Commission finds any such evidence.

He said that the Commission has directed Returning Officers to maintain separate record of women voters.

Earlier talking to media in Islamabad today‚ Secretary Election Commission Ishtiak Ahmed said that all the political parties in their meeting with the Commission had agreed that they would not strike any deal to bar women from casting their votes.

He said that legal action will be taken if the Commission receives evidences in this regard.

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