ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) always remained in the line of fire for not making appropriate arrangements for aged and disabled persons; however, this time around the commission did good arrangements for voters’ facilitation especially for the persons with disabilities and aged persons.
During a visit to various polling stations in the federal capital, it was observed that a good number of persons with disabilities and aged persons were seen visiting the polling stations to exercise their right to vote. Talking to Pakistan Today, they were quite stratified with the arrangements made for them in this election, as they had not to wait in long queues for costing votes.
They were of the view that never in a history of the country they were given such facilities in the general elections; however this time around, the polling agents and the security officials were quite cooperative. Farzana Shahid, an 80-year-old lady, who was brought by her son on a wheelchair, said that she did not face any problem in casting vote, because she had not to wait in the queue.
She said that the whole staff of the polling stations was quite cooperative, as they assisted her through the whole process. Another woman, who was struggling in walking because she lost one leg in some accident, told this scribe that though she was double mind either to vote or not because the hardships she passed through in the last general election, but she was very happy to come out to vote because she did not face any such problem this time.
When asked what forced her to take such pain to cost vote, she said that since she had children as well and wanted to play her role too in the formation of a government which could help steer out of the problems. However, when asked which party she voted, she smiled and refused to disclose the party name.
Raja Aftab, an 85-year-old person, lauded the security officials for assisting him in costing vote without much hassle. He said that he always cost his vote in the general elections but he never seen such arrangements for the aged persons, demanding ECP to further facilitate aged and disabled persons so as to increase their participation in the election process.
Talking to Pakistan Today, officials at the polling stations were of the view that they received special directions to ensure provision of all sort of facilitation to aged and disabled persons. They said that a good number of aged and disabled persons costing their votes and if they have some relatives they were allowed to help them cost their votes.
The officials said that even the polling staff and the security officials also provided all the assistance to such persons to make sure they could vote polls with ease. They said that this time around, special focus was given on the facilities especially to the disabled persons.