The day started like one important festival in the country, 18 crore people have never been seen such excited and delighted. This is the first time country and its people showed such enthusiasm for the day of Pakistan.
They felt the importance of their votes and wanted to show to the world who they want to select as their leaders. People were standing in long queues in open scorching heat of sun but that heat didn’t become any excuse for them.
Talking to the one of the polling station in Karachi, which falls under the NA-250, the presiding officer commented:
“I see some kind of change in this time of election as people are coming to polling stations very early that shows how eager they are to vote”.
The enthusiasm of people could be perceived as high as a handicapped woman came out of the polling station in her walking support
I am here to cast my vote for the sake of change,” said by handicapped woman
As the people were out to show their power on the Election Day, there was massive mismanagement witnessed from the authorities. People reached to polling stations even before the official timing of 8am in the morning, but the polling did not start due to unavailability of ballot boxes and ballot papers.
This being the primary reason polling in different areas of Karachi city started as late as afternoon let alone the bad governance manifested. The polling process was slow and delayed, which erupted anger between polling staff and people in most of the polling stations.
Later in the day, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also issued a statement clarifying that polling at a number of stations in Karachi saw a delayed start and political parties also claimed that rigging was underway.
Midway during the balloting, the Jamaat-e-Islami, a right winger party announced boycotting the elections in Karachi due to same rigging complaints.
According to the commission, there would be re-polling in the 43 polling stations in Karachi and all measures will be supposedly taken to ensure that such unfortunate events are not repeated.
Reporting from the highly sensitive area of Karachi “Lyari”, which usually makes news headlines due to poor law and order situation, lower polling agents observed in plenty of polling stations while people were seen casting votes and coming to polling stations. Further, security officials were also lesser in numbers at these polling stations.
Talking to the people in other areas of Lyari, including Kalakot and Singulane, it has been observed these areas are in complete hold of old Bhutto Legacy. The people have deep rooted attachments with for Bhutto and his party and for them to vote in the name of the cast have more priority than the performance and ideology.
Other voters in this area also claimed that they were there to vote to Sardar Uzair Jan Baloch and not for the PPP.
“He is our hero and our sympathizer He will bring change in our area and will make Lyari “Paris of Karachi”.
Moving on to the different area in Karachi to witness polling process, The constituency, which covers parts of Saddar and upscale neighborhoods of Clifton and Defence, which was a hotbed for Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan People’s Party.
The youth could be seen in higher numbers who were there to support their Skipper turned Politician Imran Khan but there were some old age people too who commented against the change and the leader who promised nation a Change.
Kaptaan World Cup Laya Magar Siyasat Mein Uska Kaam Nahi Hai, said the middle aged voter.
“The Skipper Brought Us a World Cup but He Has Nothing to Do In Politics”
Some of the people complained against the mishap taken place in the day. According to them Election Day is not voting v/s voting but rigging v/s rigging.
Talking to media from different constituencies in Karachi from NA-249 to NA-250 commented that we don’t see any free and fair election and decision would be on the basis of how much political parties rig the elections.
As the turnout was high for the D-Day in Pakistan violence also observed in the country as at least 17 people have been killed and scores of injured in different terror activities around the country.
The day has recorded a history as the people came out in huge numbers to exercise their right to vote.
The efforts made by ECP, media and civil society for their role must be appreciated and should be given credit. But what about the claim for fair and free elections? Don’t we even deserve that?