From Karachi to Peshawar, we witnessed by elections being held for the year 2013 just a few days back. And not that I wouldn’t have loved to take the hassle otherwise, I decided to visit the polling station PS 103 and in specific “Major Khalid Sultan School”, to observe the process and evaluate the credibility of the results, while on my short vacations in Karachi.
To begin with, the two camps dedicated to PTI and MQM were only a short distance away from the polling station. The distance was only so much that I could easily juggle the distance between the two camps in a few strides. The surrounds looked peaceful and there were small scores of voters arrayed without any seeming difficulty.
Knowing, how Imran Khan whipped the hype of rigging instances and violence on voters after May 11th elections, and had clamorously blamed the opponents standing from stations where he lost, I decided to go to PTI camp first and spoke to some workers on duty. Despite of who I support politically, which is very much my democratic right, the education I have received makes me only a strong proponent of democracy and fair elections. Therefore, I questioned PTI workers if they had faced any threats of violence from the party next to their station Their reply was surprising considering to PTI inclinations; No. They plainly stated that it is all peaceful there, yet only few voters came to vote at our banks.
In fact, there were only three workers sitting in the PTI camp, among those, was only one guy who was a local of North Nazimabad. I came back to the MQM camp and the ritual I observed was very simple; voters were arriving, matching their information on the lists and leaving for the respective polling stations.
Naturally, my next destination was the polling station, surrounded mostly by the police trucks and a female and male police officers were on duty outside the gate. When I took a sneak peek inside the building, four gunmen from law enforcement agencies (probably rangers) were checking and screening the voters. For my satisfaction, I asked the lady police officer if she could allow me inside for only brief while knowing I wasn’t a local, she refused. ” Even if you had an ID card you wouldn’t be allowed to go inside because your vote bank.” I asked, “what if I want to enter as an observer”, her reply was, “and then you need a permission letter from Election Commission of Pakistan”.
However, I peeked in through the half opened gate and everything seemed satisfyingly peaceful. Then I asked the lady police officer if she had witnessed any incident of rigging or clash between any two political parties. The response was plain, No.
I stayed there a little longer before my return with the hope that at least for once people would not have much to criticize on the election process. I was thinking all the way home if Imran Khan and other analysts were right about May 11th election’s rigging in Karachi then MQM should not get the chance to maintain its seats this time. Frankly, I expected them to lose miserably from PS 103 but results came with a punch of surprise. MQM successfully managed to maintain all the seats of Karachi and MirpurKhas, with a clear distinction from their opponents.
Next day’s newspapers published the photos of vote counting under the Army supervision where we could see the Army gunmen holding weapons at the stations and it was under their surveillance, the polling staff were counting votes.
To the surprise of the leadership, PTI lost most of its seats they gained in May 11th elections, therefore, by-election results has now turned all the rigging allegations by Khan other way around. If according to him, May 11th election was rigged then should we say it was PTI who rigged in NA-71 and NA-1.
Hopefully, our analysts, anchors, journalists and opponents, who generously blamed MQM of rigging elections 2013, will for once accept that they can not blame MQM for everything that goes wrong, and not especially, the elections.