LAHORE, May 11: The youth’s participation not only made electioneering for the 2013 general election colourful but it also infused the polling day with enthusiasm on Saturday.
Many say the May 11 election will be remembered for long because of unprecedented response of the young voters who, besides taking active part in electioneering, also influenced their friends and families to cast vote that resulted in a high turnout on the polling day.
According to some independent observers such massive youth participation was witnessed in the city for the first time since 1997 general election.
The electoral activities were particularly ‘hijacked’ by the youths of two major political parties – PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf .
Particularly, NA-122 and NA-120 emerged as a electoral ‘battlefield’ for the young supporters of the two parties from where two top leaders -- Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif -- were contesting.
A majority of the candidates were seen relying on young supporters and voters for victory.
The youngsters, most of them voting for the first time, began their ‘march’ to polling stations on Saturday morning by cars decorated with party flags, stickers and symbols, with loud music being played on powerful sound systems. Many of them were on motorcycles showing stunts.
Some of them were also witnessed going to the polling stations in their respective constituencies, dancing to drum tunes.
Carrying flags of their favourite political parties, they were seen moving on major as well as small arteries of the city to show their support for their leaders.
By the evening, groups of youngsters belonging either to the PTI or PML-N were witnessed blocking many main roads and intersections, particularly in the urban area constituencies of the provincial capital, disrupting traffic flow.
The youngsters also remained present outside the polling stations in their respective constituencies to ‘help’ their party voters.
Some places where massive youth activities were witnessed include Gulberg’s Main Boulevard, Liberty Roundabout, Hussain Chowk, Kalma Chowk, The Mall, Jail Road, Moon Market, Samanabad Roundabout, Davis Road, Azadi Chowk. Separate groups of youngsters were also witnessed carrying flags of PTI and PML-N on some roads inside the Walled City and in Baghbanpura.
Such festive mood was, however, missing in the constituencies on the city outskirts and rural areas of Lahore.
Meanwhile, a large number of youngsters of Pakistan Awami Tehreek staged a sit-in on The Mall on Saturday to protest holding of general elections without “reforming the corrupt system”.
The PAT youngsters also took rounds of some major roads of the city wearing black shirts carrying the slogan ‘Vote for None’. They asked the people not to choose “corrupt political leaders till the implementation of Article 62 and 63”.
They said both the Election Commission and the political parties contesting the election were making fun of these articles of the Constitution.