Voters’ long list of complaints

Published May 15, 2013 08:14am

EVERYBODY was happy to see a massive rush at almost all polling stations. The people were there to change the system. But during polling in Karachi it seemed the system failed to hold free and fair elections. Keeping in mind this situation, I have the following questions in my mind:

Is any constituency a property of any individual or party? All main political parties of the previous government like the PML-Q, the PPP and the ANP have been defeated, how is it possible that the MQM is not defeated in at least a single constituency in Karachi?

All MQM leaders in different talk shows are saying that Karachi seats belong only to the MQM. There is no stake of any other political party. Have they bought these seats?

How can the MQM monopolise these seats? Everybody has seen the videos in which MQM workers were involved in rigging, using men and women. No law-enforcement agency arrested any of them.

The social media is crying about it, why the electronic and print media are silent?

I think the whole Karachi has been hijacked by a single party.

AZHAR YOUSAF Islamabad

Intentional FOR the first time in the history the nation saw a massive turnout for voting. In the posh areas of Karachi the educated class stood in queues with patience and perseverance for hours to vote for NA 250 in sweltering heat.

However, the interim government intentionally delayed the delivery of ballot papers and stamps so that the diehard supporters of the PTI would not cast there vote and return home.

Parties in Karachi chant slogans like ‘empowering people’. Is this how you empower people?

People can’t even vote for a change because these parties feel that they ‘own Karachi’ and no other candidate can take their place.

BUSHRA ALI Karachi

A delayed polling FOR the first time in my 30 years of existence, I decided to use my right to vote and put in my part in bringing about a change in our country. It was an interesting experience for sure.

The ordeal started a day earlier before the voting day. All excited to cast my vote, I confirmed my polling station details by sending through SMS my CNIC number to 8300 and got the reply about my polling station as DHA Middle School, Phase VIII, Khayaban-i-Shujaat.

I finally located my polling station which must be the smallest of the DHA institutions and is now called as D.A. High School Phase VIII Khayaban-i-Shujaat instead of the ‘middle’ school as mentioned in the text from the Election Commission of Pakistan.

On the election day I woke up early in order to avoid the potential long queues at the polling station and return early after casting our vote. We reached the polling station precisely at 7.30am. Luckily, we were among the first few people there, so we made the queue and waited for the polling to start.

The polling was officially to start at 8am. At 8.30am, we were informed that the ECP staff is inside but the ballot boxes are yet to arrive. At 10am the ballot boxes arrived.

Imagine us standing under the scorching sun for two-and-a-half hours. But the agony didn’t stop here. One representative of the ECP came out and told us that the presiding officer of one of the blocks of our polling station died last night and due to which there was no one to collect the voting booklet for one of the blocks of our polling station from the court.

They have sent someone to collect the said booklet from the court and the polling could only be started in one of the blocks. Unfortunately, as my and my family’s votes were in that affected block, we decided to wait as the queue was now very long.

While we were patiently waiting for our ballot list to arrive at around 12 noon, 10 to 15 people barged into the gates of our polling station and went straight to the affected polling stations (remember that the ballot papers and boxes were there, only the list of voters was missing).

Luckily, the voters at our polling station immediately contacted the law-enforcement agency and they arrived swiftly (to our surprise) and managed the situation and threw these intruders out of the polling station.

Meanwhile, it was very encouraging to see young educated people helping each other out by offering water to everyone in the polling station waiting for the matter to be resolved irrespective of the political inclination.

About 3pm we were informed that the person sent to receive the list is now missing and is not accessible on phone. The army, along with Rangers official, visited our polling station to clarify the issue and assured us that we will be given extra time to cast our vote and everyone in the queue will be allowed to vote and that they are resolving the issue at the earliest.

At 3.30pm I and my family were already burnt out in the scorching heat and children frustrated by hunger. We decided to go back to our home and come back later in the evening.

So we returned home, had lunch and comforted the children. At 6pm we were at the polling station again, this time at the end of the queue. Finally, the last member of our family cast his vote at 10.30pm after which we returned all tired and sun-burnt, hoping that our contribution counted. To our shock when we turned on the news, the other party whose men were thrown out of the polling station was the first to allege rigging at our polling station and demand a re-election in our constituency.

To this we just turned the news off and went straight to bed hoping to wake up in a new Pakistan.

SALMAN HAIDER Karachi

Double standard I FEEL sorry for the DHA and Clifton residents who came out to cast their votes. They faced a hard time because of mismanagement by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Furthermore, they were threatened and harassed at most of the polling stations of NA 250 in Karachi.

For the first time residents of these posh areas came out in huge numbers. There was a general impression that voters of these areas do not take part in elections at all. But when people came out to vote, their right was abused on a massive scale.

However, on the polling day, the area witnessed double standard.

There were special arrangements made for Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim to cast his vote comfortably. But in the same area the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, Justice Mushir Alam, could not exercise his legal and constitutional right.

He remained there for more than one-and-a-half hours. He has observed so many irregularities as a common man.

I am sure that educated people of this area will lodge a complaint with the ECP because it is responsible for this massive mismanagement and irregularities. I hope the people will win this fight for their right.

The election result of this constituency is withheld. This seems to be a part of pre-and post-poll rigging. The people’s demand for re-polling is justified. Now if the ECP will announce re-polling on a few booths, the people should go with the same spirit and again cast their vote. It will make a difference and a good precedence for the future.

DR ALFRED CHARLES Karachi


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Comments (6) (Closed)


Ahmed
May 16, 2013 04:34am
Why were those who have been caught stuffing ballots on camera not been arrested and charged? Unless criminals are punished, crime does pay.
Atif Iqban
May 15, 2013 07:12pm
Let me make it clear that I am not a supporter of MQM. A question is being asked that all those parties which remained in power for the last five years suffered in the last election with the exeception of MQM, How come It is in the same way as PML ( N) has won almost all the seats in Punjab of NA & PA. Are these surprising. Atif Iqbal
Javed
May 15, 2013 08:56pm
Finally the 'silent majority' has woken up. Kudos to Salman Haider, his family and the millions like him who voted on May 11.
Asif
May 16, 2013 12:05am
This is my humble request to kindly raise issue of Pakistani passports' matter which are still not being delivered. I came to Pakistan from Saudia after 2 years for 45 days leave and applied for passport's renewal in January 9,2013. I did whatever I could to get my passport but still waiting. Luckily my employers have understood the situation and have granted me leave till May 30th. If I could not get my PP by the time I am definitely going to loose my job.
waleed
May 15, 2013 12:53pm
Vote in re-voting of NA-250, Its right to express opinion and hold yourself responsibile for your area representative.
Rafay Bin Ali
May 15, 2013 09:26am
Let's not cry over NA-250. The re-polling has been scheduled and I am sure the real stakeholders of Karachi would emerge as the victors from NA-250 as well. (no doubt, the sincere stakeholder is MQM)