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Thursday May 23, 2024

Women actively participate in polling

By Afshan S. Khan
February 09, 2024

Islamabad:On the vibrant and sunny morning of February 8, 2024, the constituencies in NA-46, NA-47, NA-48, of the Federal Capital Islamabad witnessed an extraordinary display of democratic enthusiasm as citizens, regardless of their age or gender, eagerly participated in the electoral process.

A large number of women in the queue outside the polling station during General Elections 2024 on February 8, 2024. — APP
A large number of women in the queue outside the polling station during General Elections 2024 on February 8, 2024. — APP

Specially the ones who were casting their vote for the first time, were eagerly waiting in the line for their turn to go inside the polling stations and participate in the voting process. Long queues were seen outside the polling stations reflecting the eagerness of the electorate to exercise their right to vote.

One of the most striking observations was the active involvement of women in the electoral process. Despite cultural and logistical challenges, women were seen queuing up in significant numbers, determined to make their voices heard. Many elderly men and women, some even utilizing wheelchairs, braved the chilly morning to cast their votes, emphasizing the importance of civic duty and democratic participation.

Shahida Aamir while talking to ‘The News’ said that she has six members in the house and two of them have different polling stations in the other areas of the city. This logistic issue did not deter her to cast the vote and they managed it by reaching to the polling stations early in the morning. By 2 p.m they were all free and were leaving the polling station after casting their vote.

The atmosphere at the polling stations was one of utmost cooperation. Voters who had cast their vote were seen assisting others standing in line and navigating the queues and guiding them to the process of voting through their serial codes and family numbers. This collaborative spirit exemplified the collective commitment to ensuring a smooth and inclusive electoral process.

Moreover, voters displayed a sense of community and empathy by offering sweets and water to those who had been standing in line for extended periods. This gesture not only provided much-needed refreshment but also served as a testament to the spirit of solidarity that pervaded the polling stations. The elderly women and men were taken straight into the polling station by forming an express line through which the electoral process took few minutes only.

Political fervour was palpable as voters cast their ballots in favour of the political parties of their choice. Each vote symbolized a belief in the democratic process and a determination to shape the future of the nation. Despite the cynicism that often surrounds the impact of individual votes, voters brushed aside such notions, recognizing the collective power of their actions.

In all, the polling activity in all three constituencies of the Federal Capital Islamabad was characterized by enthusiasm, and voters’ right. The turnout of voters, particularly women and the elderly, demonstrated a deep-seated commitment to democracy and a belief in the power of the ballot box to effect change. Though less people were polling in the morning, but as the day progressed, scores of men and women, young and old gathered outside the polling stations and waited patiently for their turn. As the day unfolded, it became clear that the true strength of a democracy lies in the active participation of its citizens, and the residents of Islamabad, reaffirmed this belief with their enthusiastic involvement in the electoral process. The day began with the closure of mobile network and those totally relying on their phones to get the data of their constituencies remained incomplete. This disruption adversely affected the voters' ability to access crucial information necessary for casting their votes. Those who had acquired the information a day or two ahead of the elections could vote only.

The closure of the mobile network was unexpected, though the Election Commission categorically assured that there would be no disruption of connectivity throughout the process. This created a chaotic situation on the Election Day. Mobile networks serve as a vital communication channel for voters, political parties, and election officials. Election Commission of Pakistan had made the alternate arrangements in case of internet closure and their new Monitoring Mechanism system did not rely on internet connectivity.

The closure of the mobile network deprived voters of access to critical information, causing frustration and confusion among the electorate. Many had to use apps to navigate to the polling station, but they could not do so. Many voters rely on mobile devices to navigate the electoral process, address etc., of the polling station. Without access to mobile networks, many voters were unable to confirm their polling station locations, leading to delays.

All the political parties heavily rely on mobile communication to mobilize supporters, coordinate campaign efforts, and monitor voter turnout. They have filed report in Election Commission to restore the internet so that their voters are facilitated.

The closure of the mobile network sparked widespread outrage among voters and political parties alike. Before the closure of network, many individuals took to social media after casting their votes and shared their thumb pictures and hoped that their vote would bring about the much needed change in the country.