Voters irked over lack of facilities at polling stations


LAHORE: With the people of the provincial capital, like the rest of the country, exercising their right to vote on Wednesday, no untoward incidents took place at any of the polling stations, however, a few harsh talks were reported in some parts of the city.

A three-tier security was observed on all polling stations, under which, four to five police personnel were deployed at the main entrance of these polling stations, at least two soldiers on the second tier while one soldier was deployed with every presiding officer inside the polling booths.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had earlier declared over 700 polling stations sensitive where at least 2,886 CCTV cameras had been installed to monitor the situation. Moreover, 20 to 25 soldiers were deployed on all such polling stations.

Different voter trends were observed in different areas. In NA-131, where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique were the major contesters, voters rushed to the polling stations. Nishat Colony and Charar Village were among the areas that fell in the said constituency and where voters were seen complaining of a “slow polling process”.

Similarly, several voters in NA-132 were also seen complaining about the same issue. “ECP should have recruited more people as lack of staff is causing delays in the process,” Muhammad Aslam, a resident of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) told this correspondent while adding that in the scorching heat and humidity, ECP could not make proper arrangements.

He also said that several patients had to return home without casting their votes as they could not stay in the heat for so long.

When inquired, a presiding officer admitted the lack of facilities inside the polling stations and said it was annoying the voters. “We can do nothing but perform our duties according to the mandate given by ECP.” However, he said, that their duty was to conduct free and fair polls, which they would do.

An army officer, during the visit of a polling station in DHA, told Pakistan Today that military’s duty was to keep an eye on security matters inside and outside the polling stations while conducting polls was the responsibility of presiding officers. He said that military personnel were following the instructions of presiding officers.