ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to increase the time of polling on July 25 by three hours due to the possibility of hot and humid weather conditions.
The demand was formally made by the PTI through a letter sent to the ECP by the party’s information secretary Fawad Chaudhry. The ECP has announced that the polling time will continue from 9am to 5pm on July 25.
In his letter, the PTI’s information secretary has said that since people normally do not come out of their homes between 12 noon and 4pm when heat intensity is at its peak, the ECP should extend the time of polling till 8pm to allow more and more people to use their democratic right to vote.
Moreover, he said, the move would allow even senior citizens and those suffering from illness to cast their votes with comfort.
The PTI made the request a day after the ECP dismissed three petitions seeking postponement of the upcoming polls and holding of elections for provincial assemblies’ seats in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the rest of the country on the same day.
Dr Farogh Naseem, the counsel for Habib Orakzai of the Muttahida Qabail Party, while arguing for holding elections on the proposed provincial assembly seats in Fata on July 25, had also raised the issue of scorching weather in the month of July, saying that voters’ turnout was likely to be very low due to harsh weather conditions.
“The issue of inclement weather condition in Kaghan could have been raised, had the elections been planned for winter” was an instant response of Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza who disagreed with the contention that the weather would be too harsh to dissuade people from exercising their right to franchise.
Meanwhile, the PTI on Tuesday announced that the party had postponed the workers convention which was to be addressed by party chairman Imran Khan in Islamabad on Wednesday (today).
A spokesman for the party said the decision to postpone the event had been made due to non-availability of the Jinnah Convention Centre.
Mr Khan, who formally launched his party’s election campaign with a public meeting in his native Mianwali city on Sunday, was scheduled to launch his election campaign for NA-53 Islamabad seat with this convention.
The spokesman said that the new date for the convention would be announced later.
Mr Khan is contesting the election from five constituencies — two in Punjab, and one each in Islamabad, Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi in Sindh.
The PTI chief is scheduled to arrive in Lahore on Thursday (tomorrow) where he will stay for two days. On July 1, the PTI chairman will visit Bannu and Razmak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During the last leg of his constituency-wise visits, Mr Khan will reach Karachi on July 2 and will stay in the city for two days.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018