Women in Pakistan continue to face multifaceted issues hampering their ability to participate in the political, electoral and social spheres. Pakistan currently ranks the second worst on Gender Equality in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index. According to the 2017 provisional census data, women constitute 49 percent of 200 million citizens, while the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) published the final electoral roll before the 2018 General Election (GE) highlighted that over 12 million fewer women are registered as voters in comparison to men. Of a total of 106 million citizens registered as voters, 59 million are men, while 46 million women. Although 9.11 million women had been added to the electoral rolls before the General Election on July 25th, the gap between male and female voters have not reduced but increased due to lower registration of women for National Identity Cards (NICs) and as voters in comparison to their increase in the overall population. This gender-gap indicates that the women’s citizenship issue is persistently deep-rooted and requires institutional, political and civil society efforts for them to be able to effectively participate in political, electoral and social spheres. National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) remained committed to the cause of enhancing women registration before the elections; however, due to the Results Transmission System’s (RTS) controversy, there seems to be an apparent wrangle between the ECP and the registration authority. The use of technology remained the highlight in all media quarters prior to the elections, while the new law also mandated the Commission to use RTS in order to publish the provisional election results by 2:00 am. The failure of the system led to an unpleasant situation for the ECP which overshadowed its performance in managing the polls in an efficient manner. Since the RTS application was developed by NADRA, there were subsequent accusals between the two state institutions to blame each other of its failure. This situation may have led to NADRA’s withdrawal of commitments in supporting the ECP’s drive of enhancing women registration as citizens and as voters. Though concerted and joint efforts by ECP, NADRA and civil society led to an unprecedented increase in women registration prior to the 2018 General Election, this dynamism seems to have tapered down. Pertinent issues mostly related to administrative and bureaucratic affairs at NADRA registration points and cultural barriers at the local level in some regions were dealt with in an organized manner; however, post-election the scenario seems to have completely been reversed. Administrative hurdles at NADRA service points including the varying conditions of blood relatives, large distances between the centers and communities, excessive documentation requirements and availability of Mobile Registrations Vans (MRVs) have resurfaced. Similarly, NADRA’s commitment for enhancing women registration was evident by the provision of a waiver of fee for first time registrants. Since a majority of these unregistered women do not have the appropriate means to pay for an NIC card, this fee waiver was an encouraging provision. Conversely this policy seems to have been withdrawn as well. NADRA had categorically placed this policy on its website, but very recently it has also been taken it off as well. NADRA’s commitment for enhancing women registration was evident by the provision of a waiver of fee for first time registrants. Since a majority of these unregistered women do not have the appropriate means to pay for an NIC card, this fee waiver was an encouraging provision. However, this policy seems to have been withdrawn as well The issue of under registration requires immediate attention of the new government. Sustained efforts by all state institutions as well as the civil society need to be reinvigorated to create a conducive environment for women in Pakistan. NADRA and ECP need to re-launch themselves to manage this massive issue by adopting innovative measures including the induction of new MRVs, Mobile Registration Cars (MRCs), use of man-packs for far-stretched conservative communities, fresh policy that mandates registration of all family members at the application-handling stage of a male family member at service points, dedicated counters at NADRA Registration Centers (NRCs) and extended work-hours. These long-term concerted efforts may yield dividends enabling women to effectively participate in policy- and decision-making processes thus creating an all-inclusive environment. The local governments’ elections are also fast-approaching in the coming year, and these elections provide an opportunity to set benchmarks for the state institutions themselves to mitigate this gender-gap before them. The writer is a researcher on parliamentary and electoral affairs and a Chevening scholar. He tweets @dnananjum Published in Daily Times, November 17th 2018.