KARACHI: Between the tandoors, pakwan centers, parchun [retail store] shops, chickens and fruit and vegetable carts, there was only the face of former Pakistani Prime Minister and President Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan and his election symbol, the cricket bat, playing hide and seek in the form of the many fresh PTI flyers and posters put up for the NA-239 by-election in areas such as Model Colony, Saudabad, Shah Faisal Colony and Al-Falah Housing Society which fall under the constituency .
As it was a Sunday, many young people with cricket bats in hand, on their way to their playgrounds with friends, were also mistakenly assumed to be PTI workers, but the reality was that very few were in town even knew there was an election going on.
Turnout was very low despite the critical election said to be more akin to a ‘referendum’ as former Prime Minister Imran Khan was himself the PTI candidate against Nayyer Raza of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and ‘others.
Like a mirage in a desert, a traffic jam a little ahead of Malir Garrison automatically brings to mind the by-elections as the cause of the traffic jam. Many of those who turned to the service road to avoid the traffic jam were then forced to stop at a tent covering the entire service road in front of them. This tent turned out to be a private event tent instead of a voter facilitation tent. And the jam ended in a wedding hall with a daytime wedding.
“There are 1,519 voters registered with us and so far only 150 have come to vote,” said Dr. Mohammed Zafar Iqbal, chairman of polling station No. 180 at Arman Public School in Model Colony.
Asking the few voters who they thought would take the seat in their region revealed a spontaneous response in favor of the PTI.
In the same school, President Mohammed Rizwan, informed that they had four voting booths upstairs for men and as many voting booths for women downstairs, but they were all seated mostly idle even though the poll was on. about to close soon. Looking around, we also noticed a few half-asleep policemen.
There were more police stationed in the polling stations than poll workers, and in most cases there were also more poll workers than voters.
At Asif Public School in Kala Council, attendance seemed a bit better. 87-year-old grandmother Zohra Sultana motivated her entire family to vote. She had arrived with her son, grandson, daughter-in-law and granddaughter to vote, no matter who they voted for, even though everyone in that family was eagerly waiting to put their mark on the bald -mouse.
When Dawn asked a senior election official about low voter turnout in the by-election, he said, “The by-elections are already getting low interest among voters.
When reminded of the importance of these by-elections, he added: “Maybe it is because we are also heading towards the end of the National Assembly’s mandate, so whoever will get a seat now won’t be around for long either.
Posted in Dawn, October 17, 2022