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Anomalies in voters’ list

May 09, 2013

I LIVE in Phase VIII, DHA, Karachi. I sent my CNIC number on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) number 8300 for inquiry of my polling station.

I received the message with complete details the very next moment. It is really appreciated. But, unfortunately, the information was all wrong.

I received the message with the contents: “Block No. 427050803, Serial No. 295, Polling Station: D.A. Middle School, Phase-VIII, Khyaban-i-Shujaat, Karachi, District South.”

I live on the corner of Khyaban-i-Shujaat and Khyaban-i-Roomi, in Phase VIII, DHA. For the information of the ECP, there is no D.A. Middle School at Khyaban-i-Shujaat from one end to the other. I sent an email to this effect on three email addresses given on the official website of the ECP. They all bounced back.

I tried to speak to any official of the ECP in Karachi on telephone. First, it was so difficult to get connected. Luckily, I was able to speak to someone. He gave me a cellular number of one senior ECP official in the Karachi office. That senior official gave me a very casual response, saying that it is not a big problem. There must be a school and you don’t know about it. When I told him that I am living there for the last so many years, he said the ECP would resolve my issue.

Elections are round the corner. How many polling stations are established with wrong addresses? If this is the state of affairs in a city like Karachi, what would be the state of affairs in rural areas?

Where will I cast my vote? Who will tell me? When will I and thousands of other voters be informed?

How many people are affected by wrong polling stations? Is it not one way of rigging where votes are cast on such polling stations?


Extending voting time

THE Election Commission of Pakistan has set voting timings from 8am to 5pm without any break. It might be too late to suggest but, if possible, the ECP should try to extend voting timings due to many factors.

Mainly due to increasingly hot weather the turnout would be least in Punjab and Sindh, especially during peak hours. As the electoral process on voting day has an increased activity, i.e. thumb stamp against the photo identity list, it is expected that people will have to wait in long queues to vote.

It is, therefore, suggested to increase timings to 6am to 9pm to give maximum people a chance to cast vote. If that is not possible, the ECP could consider timings, for example, in rural areas from 6am to 4pm and in urban areas 11am to 10pm.

It will be an extra burden on the ECP staff but as we are at a very crucial point of our history and our future depends a lot on this one day, the ECP should accommodate masses and give them maximum facilities to cast vote.


Electioneering and animal rights

A COUPLE of years ago Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar was picturising a song in one of the studios in Mumbai for his upcoming movie with lots of snakes around him. These creatures were part of the song.

During the shooting the Mumbai police raided the studio and arrested the director of the movie for failing to produce permission from the Society for the Prevention of Animals’ Rights. Actor Akshay Kumar was also taken into custody as he was part of the song.

Election campaigning in Pakistan is at its peak as elections are just a couple of days away. The PML-N is taking a real tiger around the city in Lahore to attract people on the streets as their election symbol is ‘tiger’.

The poor animal is chained and forced to sit on top of a car in the scorching Lahore heat. I know in a country where human rights are ignored and never given importance, raising the issue of animal rights will sound nothing more than a joke.

In the hope that an animal might get its right where humans don’t, I request the caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Najam Sethi and the Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim to look into the issue of using animals in the election campaign, keeping in view the public safety and rights of animals.