Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
AF team monitored LG elections in Karachi, Karachi


AF team monitored LG elections in Karachi

  AF team A, comprising Mr Atif, Mr Ahmed Sadiq, Ms Anis Fatima and Ms Mahnaz Rahman, visited 20+ polling stations in Gulshen-e-Iqbal, Liaquatabad, Nazimabad, Firdaus Colony, Garden, Soldier Bazar and Saddar. Polling process went on smoothly everywhere except at the places where polling staff could not reach or where in single rooms many booths had been set up. In Firdaus colony at the Mumtaz Government Boys School, polling staff had demanded 12 rooms in order to set up two polling stations but they were given only 8 rooms. In some schools of Nazimabad, only one ballot box was provided for both green and white ballot papers while in Gulshen-e-Iqbal booths, there were two separate boxes for green and white ballot papers. In our observations, only at one polling station a woman tried to cast her vote twice but the polling agent of other party caught her and foiled her attempt. She left the polling station after some heated arguments between the men of her and other parties. At some places we found printing discrepancy in ballot papers. In big buildings of schools voters were wandering from one floor to other to find their polling booth. At some booths, there was shortage of stamp pads and at some places they got inadequate number of ballot boxes. In Riaz Girls College, we saw a woman presiding officer in male voters booth while in some other schools one male presiding officer was sitting with a female officer in women’s booth. At one place booths of women and men were merged together and because of the absence of female polling staff, the women voters were really having a tough time to enter the polling booth as men voters were not giving them any space. AF team had to make great effort to create space for women voters with the help of two policemen who were on duty there.

“ Yes, there is one problem, I had to come here to cast vote in this old age” said a witty grey haired man coming out of White House Grammer School Gulshen-e-Iqbal, when I asked him whether he had confronted any problems during polling.

In Falcon House polling station, Gulshen-e-Iqbal polling started at 8.40 am and by 9.00 am 15 votes had been cast. In one of the ladies booth in this school, polling process could not start as the female polling staff had not reached on time. Only one old male officer was juggling with the polling agents and female voters. One young female voter told me that she had been waiting for her turn since 7.45 am. I made a phone call to an officer of election commission and he told me to go to Urdu Science university and register my complaint with the staff of election commission.

In Merit & Merit school, the process of polling was going on smoothly, same was the case in Hashmat School. Then we reached Urdu Science university, here the polling was going on smoothly too but we could not find any officer of election commission who could resolve the issue of absence of polling staff in one of the ladies polling booth in Falcon house school.

In Liaquatabad, we visited St. Micheal School, Riaz govt: girls college and Govt: major Ziauddin memorial School. In Nazimabad, our team visited six polling stations before visiting Mumtaz Govt Boys school in Firdaus colony where heated arguments were being exchanged between workers of PPPP & ANP as a woman tried to cast her vote twice. Voters were complaining about the laziness of the polling staff and polling staff was complaining that they had asked for 12 rooms but only eight rooms had been provided.

In Al Zehra Govt. Girls Secondary school of Firdaus colony, 50 votes had been cast by 12.25 p.m. In Haji Mureed Goth UC 44, polling started at 8.05 am i.e., half an hour late. By noon 85 votes had been cast.

In Adamji Science College, UC 15, we found chaos in one booth where they had merged men and women booths into one because of shortage of the staff. Men voters were crowded in front of the door and women in a long queue were squeezed  along the wall. Candidates were desperate: one of them told me that at least a hundred voters had gone back without casting the vote. The candidates also complained about the behavior of the police and demanded that women police should be called. We tried to make space for women voters and I made a phone call to returning officer Syed Mohammaed Ali Shah, whose number was given to me by a candidate. The RO promised to resolve this issue but I knew these were just hollow words so I tried to discipline the voters with the help of two policemen on duty there. We told a media channel about it and their team went with us in that polling booth and recorded the situation.

After that we visited Jublees School in Garden East and Sartaj Bano School of midwifery in Soldier Bazar 3. Then we witnessed a chaotic situation in a city District Govt., school of UC 16. There was no electricity on first floor so all eight polling booths were established in two rooms at ground floor and this delayed the polling process as well. The presiding officer was sitting in a depressed mood. "Rangers have been scolding me, [even] one of the candidate had been scolding me” he lamented. A candidate had slapped one polling officer as well.

After that our team took a round of some schools  in Saddar area. The other team of AF had gone to Landhi and Defense areas and their findings will be incorporated after receiving their report.