Re-polling ends in Karachi’s NA-250; low turnout reported

Published May 19, 2013
A senior citizen casting his vote at DHA model school Phase IV.— Photos by Saher Baloch
A senior citizen casting his vote at DHA model school Phase IV.— Photos by Saher Baloch
DHA model school Phase IV.— Photos by Saher Baloch
DHA model school Phase IV.— Photos by Saher Baloch
A senior citizen queing up to vote at DHA model school Phase IV.— Photos by Saher Baloch
A senior citizen queing up to vote at DHA model school Phase IV.— Photos by Saher Baloch
Main Delhi colony area. — Photos by Saher Baloch
Main Delhi colony area. — Photos by Saher Baloch
Aminia Muslim gilrs secondary  School in Delhi colony. — Photos by Saher Baloch
Aminia Muslim gilrs secondary School in Delhi colony. — Photos by Saher Baloch
Allah Wallah School.— Photos by Saher Baloch
Allah Wallah School.— Photos by Saher Baloch
An armoured vehicle is seen near DHA's Utility Store off Sunset Boulevard near Gizri.  — Photos by Saher Baloch
An armoured vehicle is seen near DHA's Utility Store off Sunset Boulevard near Gizri. — Photos by Saher Baloch

KARACHI: Re-polling ended in 43 polling stations of Karachi’s NA-250 constituency after a low voter turnout was witnessed amidst tight security on Sunday, DawnNews reported.

The voter turnout at the polling station situated in DHA Model School in Phase 4, was low, a Presiding Officer told Dawn.com adding that people might start turning up after lunch hours.

Many of the voters who had turned up to cast their votes were senior citizens and were seen queuing up outside the school to cast their vote.

Moreover, in another polling station set up at Ismail Allahwala Najam Delhi Boys' School in NA-250's Delhi colony area, only 40 votes had been cast till the filing of this report.

An Army officer deputed in Delhi colony area, requesting not to be named, attributed the low voter turn out in Delhi Colony's Allah Wallah Boys School to firing incidents that were reported at night. The same reason was attributed for the closure of shops and markets in the area.

Also some polling officers stationed at a school named Aminia Girls Secondary School in Delhi colony area of Karachi said some people were stopped from approaching polling stations whereas other polling officers at the school refuted the reports when asked.

Although the number of registered voters at the polling station at Delhi colony's Aminia Girls school was 2,292 but since morning only 11 people had turned up to vote, according to a presiding officer.

"Only one woman cast her vote at one polling booth, whereas 10 men showed up to cast their vote at another," the officer added.

Voters also complained of problems in casting their votes at polling stations.

A female voter was kept waiting and sent from one officer to another, only to find out that her name was not in the voters list.

One of the few voters who had turned up at Allah Wallah School, was also made to wait for hours before being directed to another polling station, as his name was not on the voters list.

A polling officer told Dawn.com that the polling stations had been changed adding that the voters should have been aware of their balloting details.

On the other hand, voters complained that the Election Commission of Pakistan, should have informed the voters, who had turned up at the polling stations following instructions received earlier from the election commission only.

Police, Rangers, and military personnel were present at the polling stations to provide security.

Moreover convoys of the Army, comprising 2 to 4 vehicles, were patrolling various areas of NA-250 constituency.

On the eve of the re-polls, senior vice-president of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf’s Sindh chapter, Zahra Shahid Hussain, was killed outside her DHA Phase IV residence.

Police officials suspected the incident was robbery-related whereas leaders of different political parties and Sindh's caretaker chief minister's special assistant on home affairs, Sharfuddin Memon, appeared on various News channels and termed the incident as 'targetted killing'.

Earlier, polling was not held in these stations as per schedule on May 11 due to the absence of presiding officers and electoral staff.

Due to widespread complaints of alleged rigging and irregularities, the ECP had postponed polling in 43 polling stations of the NA-250, PS-112 and PS-113 constituencies.

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) boycotted the re-polling in protest.

The MQM had announced its boycott of the re-polling on Friday after its demand for re-polling in the entire NA-250 constituency was rejected. On the other hand, PPP’s local leader Najmi Alam in an about-face told a news conference on Saturday night that the party was boycotting the re-polling saying the ECP was not willing “to listen to us”.

The PPP’s decision to boycott the re-polling came hours after PPP Sindh’s General Secretary Taj Haider, in a statement, urged party workers and supporters to fully participate in the election process.

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