Monday, February 18, 2008

An Account of visits to two Karachi polling stations

(By Faris)
I was lucky enough to visit two very different polling stations today, clearly showing the inherent classism and divisions in Karachi (Pakistani) society today.

I first went to my polling station in Bath Island, NA-250 with my family and was really impressed by the arrangments. Policemen politely guided us to the right section, where I had to stand in a proper line for about 10 minutes before the first person checked my name on a clear voter's list. He read my N.I.C # out loud and this was confirmed by 3 officials in one corner of the room. My father's and my brothers name were clearly visible on the voter list as well. He put the black mark on my right thumb and asked me to proceed to the next table where two people responsible for handing out the National & Provincial balloting papers were sitting. After marking my candidates, I folded the balloting papers and asked the official if i had done them correctly, dropped them into the boxes and left happily. Maybe one reason for this order was because a European photographer was roaming around the polling station with a BBC Urdu crew.

Cowasjee was present in the room and was being interviewed by BBC. As always he commented, 'Hona kia hay, salaa phir wohi ghundaa logh aaye gah!' hahahahaha

The other polling station I visited was in Malir Halt, opposite to the airport, NA-256. This is a core MQM area and rigging is expected here. I dropped my grandmother and mother to the ladies polling area and this is what they've told me: 'There were only 3 - 4 women standing in a line to go through the voting process (including my grandmother and mother) while the room was filled with nearly a dozen women, who were just standing around laughing and chatting. The tables were in a mess and no one was really bothering to mark the thumb, checking the voting list or even confirming the N.I.C #. Amazingly, women were being ASKED to put stamp the 'kite' section while the cardboard screen was lying on the corner, facing the wrong way! My mother was furious and told the ladies there to give my grandmother some room so she could use the cardboard area. When they were dropping the balloting papers in the boxes, two random women were staring hard to see what she had stamped.
In the men's section, there was a huge crowd of MQM boys standing around with flags, looking really agitated and waiting for something to happen. (This is around 3 p.m.) I asked one of them, 'what's the scene? Is someone coming here?' He laughed and answered, 'Voting is about to begin!'
My grandmother's chowkidaar went to vote to the same polling station a little later and came back really sad, since he wasn't even able to fulfill his right! He told me that the MQM boys were busy blatantly stamping the remaining balloting papers. When he asked the officials where to go for voting one told him to go to the next building of the school and when he went there, he was told to go back to the first one. After going around for 20 minutes he gave up and came back home. We all know how competitive NA-256 is going to be....

Meanwhile...
PML-Q people in Faisalabad have offered a 'bicycle' for anyone who brings 10 votes, a 'motorbike' for 50 votes and a 'mehran' for 100 votes! A friend's friend (working for an independent candidate) was so happy from the news, that he was able to round up 40 votes the last i heard. His logic was that 50 votes will not make the king's party win since Nawaz league is steamrolling them in Faisalabad, so why not take advantage of the situation? I completely agree! You know, the PML-Q really knows how to cater to the needy :-)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

means kay jahan monitoring ho rahi thee wahan kam sahi hua baqi jagah raggin

Aboobaker S. said...

Really love the commentary. It's nice to know about what really happens in the these elections, and what happens in the areas where the BBC cameras don't go.

Muhammad said...

PPP workers doing same thing in their majority area…like Liari…Goli Maar…and interior Sindh as well

Anonymous said...

Well story tu achi banai hai , lakin chalnay wali nahi....jaab loogoun kaa pass aab kuch nahi bacha tu propaganda start kar diyaa woo bhi aaik hi party kaay aganist...... why dont publish the story of larkana, dont u ppl were casting votes even no NIC numbers on voter list......that also showed by Fatima bhutto as well. All was done in presence of Nasar khoro

Anonymous said...

who can ever expect mqm to be honest? people from karachi always knew what kind of party mqm was, we always knew that mqm only won by rigging. finally so many people are speaking out against it. type rigging in karachi on google and so many results will show up with mqm's name. fianlly people are starting to speak up against them, there are several videos clearly showing rigging online, some of them are posted on youtube: http://youtube.com/results?uploaded=d&search_query=mqm+rigging

the quality is not that great, but you can tell whats going on, there are several other videos over the internet along with people sharing their persona experiences on elections day in online blogs. on the 26th of feb, ppp is taking mqm to court to the sindh high court for rigging these elections. honestly, enough of living in fear from these thugs, they should go and let us karachi people live in peace.