Monday, February 18, 2008

SAC Lahore Activities on Election day

Volunteers are needed for two parallel activities - Electoral Monitoring and Mock polling with street theater - being organized by SAC Lahore today. Those interested please get in touch at 0332-4838139

Electoral monitoring begins at 9 am
Mock Polling and Street Theatre begins at 8 am.

Electoral Monitoring (9 am to 11 pm)

Electoral monitoring at the end of which they will produce an independent report on electoral irregularities. A sub-committee of nine members was made for this purpose. Another team of SAC members will organize a camp outside the press club. Both activities are intended to compliment each other.

The target is for the final product of a report of no more than 20 pages that will document electoral irregularities as well as the impressions of various students about the electoral process of 2008. We hope that this will not only be an exercise in raising the awareness of other people, but will prove to be an educational experience about electoral processes (or lack of) in Pakistan.

The electoral monitoring team will focus on one constituency (with the exception of a few who will monitor and report back from their own cities, villages etc. ). We have decided to focus on the constituency of Monis Elahi.

All volunteers are to submit a one or two-page report that will be edited and put together as a twenty-page report of the SAC Lahore on the elections of 2008.

We solicit everyone to send us any information regarding irregularities in the upcoming elections.

Very briefly we will be looking for the following things.

  1. Polling stations must be secure – only those who are voting should be allowed inside polling stations.
  2. Presence of armed vigilantes – the presence of armed vigilantes of political parties especially outside of polling stations is a clear indication of an gross electoral irregularity. If you find someone openly brandishing arms take a photograph from relative safety.
  3. Campaign spending – the maximum campaign spending is Rs. 15 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh for National and Provincial Assembly respectively.
  4. Unfair use of public funds – the use of government funds to build support for an electoral candidate through development projects is considered an electoral irregularity by the EU.
  5. Unfair use of private funds – public works such as gas connections, road repairs, or the laying of pipelines through private funds are also considered a violation of electoral procedures. Further, paying people for their vote (from public or private funds) is also considered an electoral violation.
Please visit the websites of Free And Fair Election Network (FAFEN), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Election Commission of Pakistan to find out more about electoral procedures and our voting rights.

The only true education is self-education through self-experience. The activity of electoral monitoring is an opportunity for us to learn more about the claims and reality of electoral procedures in Pakistan.

Mock Polling and Street theater in front of Lahore High Court

SAC Lahore plans to organize mock polling and street theater in front of Lahore High Court on Election day. The objective of establishing this polling station is to hold a referendum on the legitimacy of Pervez Musharraf's presidency in a transparent manner. By creating a parallel election system, in effect an act of civil disobedience, we express our doubts about the legitimacy and the transparency of these elections. The objective of street theatre is to provoke us into a collective thinking about the rule of law in Pakistan and to encourage each other in resisting oppression and slavery.

We would appreciate volunteers to help us manage the station, including the tents, furniture, officers and agents, ballot boxes, ballot paper, and relevant literature. Or you may contribute to the street theatre group, which will stage-manage the short productions to be delivered regularly on Election Day.

We need help with:

1) Volunteers to man the booth

2) Setting up the booth in the morning

3) Distributing the flyers

4) Implementing any additional ideas that you may have

We would ideally like to keep the polling booth and theatre going till 5 pm, but this is heavily dependent upon volunteers

Uni notices - attached. Please put these up today on noticeboards in your universities.

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