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- Sunday, May 12, 2013 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: The activists and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) outnumbered rivals in every constituency exhibiting high spirits throughout the polling process, visits to a number of polling stations in Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera revealed on Saturday.


The PTI had a number of voters and supporters greater than those from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).


The same spirit of the PTI workers was observed when they returned from their respective areas polling stations on motorcycles, cars and other vehicles carrying the party’s flags, banners and posters with Imran Khan’s portraits. The beaming activists were playing loud music and flashing the victory signs as if they were celebrating the likely victory.


The presence of voters and supporters of the major parties was thin. It was astonishing to note that the voters wearing the JUI-F and PPP caps polled votes to PTI candidates. An auto rickshaw driver, carrying voters to a polling station, said: “This time the voters changed their policy. They came with the PPP and JUI-F people, but didn’t cast votes for them,” he added.


The ANP supporters wearing red caps and holding red flags were seen active in Government High School, Prang in the Charsadda district, guiding the voters to the polling stations, where ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan was contesting on NA-7.


The supporters of former ANP leaders including Arshad Khan and Fazal Shakoor Khan, who were contesting elections on Jamaat-e-Islami and JUI-F tickets, were active but the PTI workers were confident of setting a record.


Manawwar Khan, 45, said he polled one vote to the JI nominee but voted for the PTI candidate for the National Assembly. “This was done by many of my villagers,” he claimed.


“There is neither ideology nor the people have followed any principles in this election,” he said, adding his brothers and elders were supporting the JI but he had clearly told them that he would not vote for them.


The illiterate elders in NA-3 said they had been supporting the PPP and JUI-F in the past but now they had decided to vote for a change, which they said could be the last chance.


“I will vote for the PPP but could not pressure my sons and grandsons, who had openly told me they would vote for the PTI,” said Inayat Kaka. Flanked by his son and nephew, he said: “They are no longer following me.”


Meanwhile, alleging a massive irregularity, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) activists in constituency PK-29 in Mardan asked the chief election commissioner to hold investigation and announce re-election in the Government Degree College Khyberabad.


Talking to The News, Abdul Ahad Khan, a polling agent of PPP candidate Abdul Akbar Khan, complained he had been apprising the presiding officer and other relevant authorities about irregularities inside the polling station but none of them took any notice.


“The result is unacceptable to us,” he said, alleging the presiding officer did not allow the male voters to cast votes after 5pm but they allowed the women into the male polling station without following any rule and regulations.


The presiding officer, he said, did not entertain their repeated requests to allow the men standing inside the polling station, who entered into the boundary wall before5pm.


He said only two police constables and one inspector were unable to control the situation, and alleged that the influential voters were allowed to do whatever they liked. He alleged the educated women were guiding the illiterate women voters and stamping ballot papers for them on their behalf.


The election agents said such election could not be called free and fair, requesting the authorities to hold investigation and cancel the election results at least on the women polling stations.