ATTOCK: Sardar Nawab of Domail village says he and his family always use their right of franchise in accordance with the decision of their elders.
“Well before each election, a proper meeting of our Biradri (clan) is held for taking the final decision. Then, “Dua-i-Khair” (prayer of good wishes) is offered in the presence of the candidate (s) to formally announce the clan’s support.
“So there is nothing hidden and everybody knows which Biradri is supporting which candidate or party,” he added.
Traditionally, voters in the rural areas of the district have preferred leaders of political parties while people in the rural areas are known for voting on the basis of clan affiliations.
The Biradri system has always remained a main factor in elections in the rural areas and the people there support their favourite candidate or a political party as a whole.
If the elders of any Biradri decide to vote for any particular candidate or political party, all members of the clan follow the decision.
The third major deciding factor in the rural voting is the “Pirs” (spiritual leaders) as the rural population shows extreme regard to their decisions.
Former MPA Pir Abbas Mohiuddin, an influential spiritual figure of Mukhad village, is this time a potential PTI candidate for PP-19 Attock-V.
The Pir had won the seat in the 2002 election on the ticket of the PML-Q. Owing to his influence, this time the PTI preferred the Pir for the constituency, ignoring an application filed by another PTI leader, Sardar Mumtaz Khan, for the ticket.
Besides, the rural voters take more interest and enthusiasm in the electioneering as compared to the urban voters and the turnout remains high there.
This trend of voting in the rural areas is due to low literacy rate and old taboos and traditions.
However, educated people even in the rural areas cast their votes on their free will though their number is very low.
On the other hand, people in the urban areas vote on merit after judging the manifestos and performance of the parties.
In the urban areas, even members of a same family have different opinions and follow different parties.
For example, Rana Afsar Ali Khan from the Rana family in the Attock city is supporting the “Major Group” in NA-57 whereas his two cousins are supporting the PTI. In the 2008 elections, they all had voted for the PPP.
Mr Khan told this correspondent that he had always voted for a particular political party but now his children were supporting another party.
However, urban voters do not attend election-related gatherings so vigorously. They preferably watch and monitor the election activities from a distance.
Some of them also prefer to stay home to avoid the hardship of polling process which also causes low turnout.
Undoubtedly, the majority urban voters cast vote on merit with full liberty. But it is also a fact that rural voters affect the election results as they are about 80 per cent of the total population.