LAHORE: Amid mismanagement and clashes reported at various polling stations, youth, women and the elderly, with families in tow, left their houses to go and cast their vote. General Elections 2018 saw a large number of first-time voters, who came out in droves to support their respective political parties and candidates.
From 8am, people thronged various polling stations. The unrelenting heat did nothing to dampen the spirits of voters, majority of whom consisted of first-timers and women. Long queues of voters lined up outside of polling stations, shivering with enthusiasm, eagerly waiting to fulfil their national responsibility.
Many youngsters believed their vote will bring a positive change for the country. Rabia Khan, a housewife casting her vote for the very first time, revealed that despite being unaware of the rules and regulations, she decided to participate in the elections.
“I am not well-versed with the whole process. However, I have chosen to support a political party and will cast my vote for them,” she stated. Several of the first-time voters who spoke to The Express Tribune said that they faced many problems and issues due to mismanagement by the election staff. along with insufficient facilities at polling stations.
Khan maintained that security officials did not let voters come in for several hours, without giving a logical explanation.
“The few who went in and came out told us that there were not many voters inside the polling station. For this reason, many women left,” she recounted. It was only after we started making a ruckus that security officials allowed us to enter around late afternoon,” she added.
Voting was also delayed at several polling stations. Citizens claimed that the delays were caused by the staff’s inefficiency, while presiding officers said they were unable to deal with the large influx of citizens due to an overall lack of staff. Reportedly, clashes took place in NA-123, NA-126 and NA-132, while polling was suspended at some stations polling for a time. Media personnel were also barred from entering polling stations.
“We are an eight-member family, all of whom have come to cast our vote today,” said Parveen Bibi, a voter at NA-123.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2018.
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