Pakistan elections 2024: Violence, poll rigging, systemic errors — here's what voters experienced at polls | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  Pakistan elections 2024: Violence, poll rigging, systemic errors — here's what voters experienced at polls
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Pakistan elections 2024: Violence, poll rigging, systemic errors — here's what voters experienced at polls

Low turnout, lack of mobilisation efforts, and violent attacks in certain areas characterised the Pakistan elections, while some political parties offered incentives to voters in certain regions.

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station during Pakistan's national elections in Islamabad on February 8, 2024 (AFP)Premium
A woman casts her ballot at a polling station during Pakistan's national elections in Islamabad on February 8, 2024 (AFP)

As the counting for Pakistan election results is underway, reports of violence, and allegations of systemic irregularities and poll rigging, among others, have spread in local media.

But reports now suggest that the Pakistani voters also faced several disruptions and hiccups during polling.

According to a report in the Dawn, only the lucky ones were able to go in and out of the polling station within minutes. For other Pakistani voters, polling at their stations didn't begin by even 3 pm.

Several voters were reportedly running from pillar to post to find their voting booths. In many cases, the entire family's data was not available at one polling station, thanks to sloppy work by Election Commi­ssion of Pakistan (ECP) officials. While the father had his vote at the nearest booth, the son didn't.

The ECP failed to make provision for the physically challenged and had crammed polling stations along with the usual systemic hurdles.

To add to the already chaotic experience, with the cellular services plugged out, the Pakistani voters weren't even able to check their National Identity Card (NIC) numbers on their phones.

Pakistani voters told the Dawn that inconveniences and hiccups are staples in any and everything that happens in their country because Pa­k­­istan and an ‘unencum­bered countrywide exercise’ are oxymoronic.

Several voters even opted not to exercise their democratic right to vote owing to the disillusionment.

General elections in Pakistan are usually synonymous with buzz, fervour and festivities. However, with the hopes from the elections in 2024 grim, the Dawn reported that these elements were conspicuously absent from the electoral landscape this year.

Meanwhile, the Dawn reported that in some areas of Lahore, especially where key Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leaders were contesting, the party facilitated voters by arranging food and transport. While in others where the party was in a dominating position, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) also lured voters with similar incentives.

The polling scenes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan were completely different. The voter turnout remained bleak as the two provinces continued to grapple with violent attacks.

As for the residents of tribal areas, this was the first election since they were mainstreamed following the merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. While the turnout was low, polling was largely peaceful, with a few reports of violence.

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Published: 09 Feb 2024, 02:51 PM IST
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