Lahore: The voters and staff members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), among other officials, have complained of inadequate arrangements at various polling stations in Lahore. The 2018 general election took place in Pakistan on Wednesday while the results of the same are currently awaited.
“We have no break and no support staff. We all have been thirsty since morning, but no one provided us with water. Can anyone explain why this has happened to us?” asked Assistant Presiding Officer (APO) Muhammad Rizwan at polling station No.72 of NA-131 (DHA), where Imran Khan and Khwaja Saad Rafique were the main contestants, reported the Dawn.
“We are surprised that no one is offering to us even tea since we are working continuously. How will we spend the entire day since the situation is affecting our work,” Rizwan added. Tariq Javaid, a presiding officer at polling station No. 73, also came forward with similar complaints.
It was further observed that a few polling stations were established in small premises or buildings of private schools. The situation was apparently worst at polling station No. 110, which was made in a congested building of a private school situated at Mast Iqbal Road near Chungi Amar Sadhu.
“You can see the situation we are passing through, as here we have no refreshment in such an inclement weather,” a female polling officer told the Dawn. Her presiding officer Zakir Mubeen also mentioned various problems which were faced by the polling staff.
Saba Salman, who was looking after polling station No. 37, said the only problem faced by her team was the disruption of electricity supply, making the heat unbearable. She also complained that her duty was placed too far away from where she lived.
A female polling officer at station No. 132, a constituency where PML-N chief Shahbaz Sharif and PTI’s Mansha Sindhu were the main candidates, termed the arrangements worst ever since she started performing election-related duties.
“It is really an ill-managed elections, as I faced too much difficulty in getting the material (ballot papers, forms etc) weighing 40 to 50 kilogram shifted from the office of returning officer (sessions courts) to here at this polling station,” the female officer said.
Meanwhile, the Dawn reported that most of the voters in urban posh localities started visiting polling stations after 3 p.m. A huge rush of voters was witnessed at a polling station at Lahore Cantonment – the constituency where the main contest was between PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and PTI’s Aleem Khan.
“As many voters rushed here after 3 p.m., it became difficult for us to handle such a huge crowd,” said Saqlain Raza, polling officer at station No. 205. On the other hand, some voters complained of not being allowed by the staff to cast votes. “My ID card got misplaced. I showed them the FIR regarding my (misplaced) card. But they didn’t allow me to cast vote,” said a voter, Muhammad Usman Ali.