Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Personal polling experiences


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Election workers count ballots after polls closed for Pakistan's general elections in Peshawar May 11, 2013. — Reuters photo.

The good, the bad and the ugly dominated Election Day in Pakistan. From the loss of lives in bomb blasts in Karachi and Naseerabad, to Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf's victory in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Nawaz Sharif's lead overall, much happened on May 11.

In Karachi, rigging allegations were thrown back and forth between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, PTI, PPP, Jamaat-i-Islami, Sunni Tehrik, Sunni Ittehad Council and others. Several parties including the JI also boycotted elections in Karachi and Hyderabad.

In Punjab, Nawaz swept the polls while Imran Khan alleged rigging. In Karachi, in NA-250, some people didn't get to vote at all and others waited for hours.

In Balochistan, it appears that the nationalists have fared well.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ANP experienced an all-out defeat at the hands of PTI.

Everyone had different polling experiences. Please share yours with - any anecdotes, whether positive or negative.

Comments (30) Closed

pakiboy May 14, 2013 07:23am
poor excuse !! ... nobody holding ur hand ,, and no reason to blame anyone if u didnt tried to put stamp on bat and somebody stopped u !!
pakiboy May 14, 2013 07:25am
my dear .. ballot boxes and stamps r with the PTI candidate there . .so dont blame hijacking to others ... they created this situation themselves .. bcoz it easy to blame MQM for everything happen anywhere for any reason .. also why PTI believe that they can win from everywhere there candidates stood from !! .. did u asked the same question in punjab also ??
pakiboy May 14, 2013 07:22am
this type of things always happen m8 .. no body forced ur hand to vote for anything .. so why so worried .. happened to me too .. a person peeking through window of the party for which i am voting for but i damn care vote my heart out .. and if anything of this sort happening u can request polling staff there to move them away .. politely !! .. so no confrontation type of thing occur if u worried about that ..
bkt May 12, 2013 02:49pm
Seriously this is the worst managed election I have ever voted in. It is unbelievable that anything could be this badly organized. If the ballots arrived late and the stamp later, then why were there so few elections officials and why were they working so slowly? I was waiting for hours to vote and when I finally did, the polling officials seemed to be half asleep. I've voted before as well and the whole exercise hardly took an hour. This time the few officials simply could not handle all the voters. The Election Commission is pathetic and needs to be taken to task. None of these officials should be allowed to manage an election again.
Farida Rahman May 12, 2013 03:04pm
In Defence Karachi election results were hijacked and manupilated by well crafted strategy. Where ever Imran was supposed to win, stamp was not provided, staff came late, there was dilly dally on one pretex or another. No wonder the posting of Army was opposed by all stake holders in the crooked deal.
AA May 12, 2013 03:41pm
From NA-128, couldn't find the polling station for almost two hours while the whole neighbourhood was giving vote in the school next to my house. I wonder how my family ended up in a rural polling station miles away from our place. Only a PML N camp was there and a candidate with huge moustache was sitting outside surrounded by his chamchas. Inside the polling room, about 20 females (from the village) were having soft drinks and biscuits. Few were standing in the small line. Polling officers were extremely slow with paperwork(cant they digitalize the system!). She looked at me from head to toe and asked "aap itni door se kisko vote dainey aaein hain". There was a woman with a PML N badge near the line. She told me to stamp the "sher". I snapped back "why!!!" who are you to tell me!". She backed off. I stamped the "bat" and put the ballot paper in the box. Most of the white votes were in green box and vice versa as no one was there to guide the rural ladies! My mother pointed out to the polling officers. They were like "whatever!" After 2 and half hours, of which two hours were spent finding the polling station, my family finally voted. Quite an effort it was! And yes PTI lost from NA-128!
SS May 13, 2013 04:00am
Gulistan-e-Jauhar Karachi, no private areas for casting vote, all MQM men wanted to vote infront of them, now who can stamp on BAT infront of BHAIS of your area...... This was my 3rd chance to vote, really terrible work by ECP
Realist May 13, 2013 04:59am
And the award for most cleverly planned rigging and deceit is still up for grabs, the nominees are Altaf Hussain, Sharif Brothers, Zardari Sahab and Fakru Bhai. Please vote for your Least Favorite. For me its a tough choice.
Ali May 13, 2013 05:14am
From NA-256, Karachi, my polling station was Mehran Secondary School in Gulshan. Polling agents belonged to a certain political party while putting ink mark on my thumb the agent told me to vote for a certain party. When I went to the polling booth, two people were standing right next to it and trying to peek who I was voting for and they kept whispering to me to vote for a certain party. People like this were being put under pressure. Are these free and fair elections? No! I dont think free and fair elections can take place with party appointed government officials working at polling booths.
hifsa mahmud May 13, 2013 05:48am
NA 126...polling started late by more then one hour for no apparent reason at the polling station i went to at sharp eight...n then lists got mixed ended up in a wait of three st hours in line without a shade...further at one polling station my mother saw PML-N badge wearing ppl going inside n locking the door from inside..they were thrown out when voters started protesting...PTI won but attempts to cheat were even there...
Qamar May 13, 2013 06:25am
Benazir Income support program is the only factor that defeated educated in Interior Sindh. I saw that women and even men were casting votes just for 2000 of BISP.
MB May 13, 2013 08:00am
NA-251/ PS-115. My first voting experience at a station near Bahadurabad was quite pleasant. Even though the Ballot boxes were delivered late (10:15), the station itself was manned by Army personnel. The ballot boxes were delivered by the area SHO after we had complained that the polling had not started as per the scheduled time. The polling staff were well-trained. The only issue with the polling station was that there was no separate enclosure to stamp your vote, which meant that the presiding officers and the agents saw who I voted for. Besides that there were no major hiccups. My entire family voted from the same station till like 1600 Hours, and till that time there were no issues with rigging as far as that particular station was concerned. From what I have heard/ read about other polling stations in the vicinity, our station was heaven. What left me wondering though that if this type of security was implemented at one station, why was it not replicated at others. I personally visited some stations in NA-250, and Army was nowhere to be seen. If re-polling does take in some constituencies, I would like to request the ECP to implement similar security measures and allow Army to man the stations.
Basil Ahmad May 13, 2013 08:48am
My polling station was next to Shifa hospital (NA250). I was 5th. inline and we started late around 8:45 am but, I was done by 9:00 am. The polling staff had no stamps so the back of my vote ballot only had a sign - No stamp! I was later told that if no stamp your vote will not be counted. I am very upset as I voted for PTI. For Change! In my mother's case she went to the ABSA polling station 3 times. Finally, at 5:30 pm. the ballot papers arrived and she voted at 7:00 pm. ECP the setup to the most important elections in the history were very badly organized. Very disappointed. BIG! Led down.
maryum May 13, 2013 10:18am
I had to wait for around 3 hours to cast my vote.. in NA 253 Karachi.. The teachers were trying to mis guide people, were using delaying tactics but i casted my vote. I found this ECP more corrupted than ever.
Akram May 13, 2013 11:04am
at least you had the courage to stand up and give the woman a befitting reply. Its obvious that the state cannot run the election all on one day and do it efficiently. Pakistan should look to maybe stagger election days so that each polling station has people monitoring the behavior of officials, agents and anyone in the vicinity. Organisation is key. It would also help make the security easier to manage.
Change Bond 008 May 13, 2013 11:21am
Dear Basil, unless ECP goes for repolling for your polling station, your vote and that of all others WERE counted. From, PTI Polling Agent (Naval School near Shifa)
Humayun May 13, 2013 11:43am
I reached the polling station at 9 45 and got done in 30 minutes or so. The voter turnaround was quite a bit and a lot of people were supporting PTI. However, we were freely allowed to vote. When later in the day i took the rest of my family to vote, the experience was all together different. People were forcing everyone to vote for MQM as they could see the defeat right in front of their eyes, despite that when people stopped listening, they were forced on gun points to vote for MQM. A few of my friends were never allowed to stamp, finger impressions were taken and they were told to go away. Similarly, when i was on the road, i saw a bunch of people sitting in a circle with ballot papers and continuously stamping them, later i found out these were replaced with the original ballot papers. It's depressing to say at the very least. Karachi's mandate is of PTI and not of MQM, at-least on 4 seats, NA250-NA253. Which has been stolen from them. And now the government has banned protests. A constitutional right of the people has been stolen, and they are being asked to stay quiet. Isn't this slavery?
SMA May 13, 2013 11:47am
Now people recognized that who the culprits are, good luck Pakistan.
Farooq Ali May 13, 2013 11:51am
Disappointing the polling station was a free for all mess and mismanaged , but I cast my vote with the hope that the democracy was moving on a broken track towards its destination and a change has come after waiting for turbulent 5 years. I was also motivated by the people of all ages and women in particular standing in long ques waiting for hours to cast their votes . The mess was not by accident but by design planned cleverly by those who wanted to remain in power without people choice the poor and innocent who have suffered to the extent of giving lives of their dear ones in past era ..Let us not be disappointed or loose hopes but keep moving with courage as was shown on 11 May towards the path of a change come what may.
AA May 13, 2013 01:40pm
The whole process must be digitalized to save us from rigging and long queues. There is a digital NADRA database. All the thumb prints are saved in the database. Just because it will not be possible to rig elections, politicians do not allow digitalization. You think the world uses this tedious process for voting? NO. United States uses optical scan voting machines. And this is the way it should be! Aik dafa hojaye digitalize, pher kar k dekhain rigging!
TQ May 13, 2013 02:04pm
the ballot I received already had a thumb impression on it, I put my thumb and asked the staff to put a cross on previous one and he obliged...but mind u my polling station was inside air force base and I a military officer that's why no body dared to do hanky panky and coerce me . This shows the lengths manipulation was planned to
farmerdr May 13, 2013 02:06pm
Extremely clean and well managed, it took me less than 5 minutes to complete voting in NA125 Munir Rd. The only complaint was that a PMLN worker with a party flag asked me to support his party. I thought campaigning at polling time is not the done thing.
MJ-Siddiqui May 13, 2013 03:24pm
My older brother went to vote early in the morning and had no issues at all, my elder brother went to the same polling station later in the afternoon and was forced by thugs from the local party to vote for them. I could not vote because of not being able to do so due to serious illness, but now I think that it would have made no difference. These elections being called just and fair is the biggest joke of the year.
NAsir May 13, 2013 04:26pm
my cousin was presiding officer at one of the polling stations in Akora Khattak she said there was not a single female voter till 1 in afternoon and suddenly about 300 to 400 women came, all of them from mahajir (afghani) camp with orignal pakistani id cards having issued date some where in dec 2012..and all casted vote for PMLN..but Allah hamdullilah truth prevail and PTI won..
NAsir May 13, 2013 04:34pm
also one night before election day ANP and PMLN agents were roming around in our village in nowshera bribing the voters and intrestingly only one person in village did took the money from ANP and as soon as village elders came to know about this all youth went to his polling station and beat him and his son to death about the treatury he has done, also PMLN agents came to our hujra that night and told our elders that if you people want "easy load" meaning money we have brought with us as nawaz has provided us abundantly..our elders did not seel their souls and they were treated as guests but were left with so harsh words that they will remeber all their life..
Anjum Arshi May 13, 2013 05:18pm
FAFEN is reporting that in many polling stations in Karachi, voter turnout rate was more than 100%, in some cases up to 300%. In one NA constituency of Karachi (Lyari), voting rate was 4 votes per second! In Gulistane Johar, families were threatened and turned away. Police and Rangers were nowhere to be seen. Army did not exist. Alas! Karachi is the last remaining uncivilized part of the country, ruled by gangsters and murderers.
atif khan May 14, 2013 05:56am
Education matters, I am from Wah Cantt and casting vote was like walk in the park, reason being wah cantt has 99.9 % literacy rate, people have sense , they wont accept rigging and wont let any one.and thats why PTI wont both seats from there.All we need is education in order to differentiate who is right and who is wrong , and unfortunately in other areas of country the so called politicians and strong guys dont stress on education because if there the lower class gets education then their days are gone.
concerned May 14, 2013 05:58am
I reached polling station at 11:00 pm, there was a long 2 queues. i cast me vote at 1:30pm.they were very slow. mess and mismanagement was created as they allowed 15 to 20 females in room to cast there vote at a time. the officer was very old. the other thing that struck me the most were the polling agents. one of the polling agent was standing at the gate of the polling station and was saying to all the voters as trying to persuade them to vote for change. she also misbehaved with few of the voters and the presiding officer. the other thing that saddened me was when i saw youths carrying the flags of their leader along with the sticks and of course the most vicious language and slogans for those who were not voting for change.
Abdullah May 14, 2013 06:18am
people of karachi are also responsible for this heavy rigging..... because they don't raise their voice against the terrorist party. Voters of NA 250 has proved that united protest can defeat even the armed terrorists. We should raise a collective voice against heavy rigging in elections if we want to set karachi free from these gangsters
yahya May 14, 2013 09:36am
I belonged to NA-251, reached at 9:00 am and found that polling was not started. first time I was casting my vote and started enjoying election fever. Majority of the voters were young or first time voters. Of all the reasons, polling started at 11:00 am due to non availability of ballot box. There was a firing incident too when a political party stopped another party's rigging the culprit was taken in custody. One of my neighbor said we will stay in the line and will cast vote despite of the firing. Nevertheless, democracy won and rigging lost.