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Monday February 26, 2024

Eager youths cast maiden vote for ‘country’s sake’

February 09, 2024

Maryam, 18, is content and happy as she exits a polling station with her mother in Karachi’s NA-236. Glancing at her freshly inked thump, she cannot contain her excitement for having cast her vote for the first time.

A woman shows her marked thumbs after casting her vote at a polling station during the countrys parliamentary election in Karachi on February 8, 2024. — Online
A woman shows her marked thumbs after casting her vote at a polling station during the country's parliamentary election in Karachi on February 8, 2024. — Online 

“Ever since yesterday, she cannot wait to cast her ballot,” her mother says. Maryam arrived at the polling station set up at a private school in Gulistan-e-Jauhar with her parents. “This is my first-time voting as I decided to cast my vote for the sake of our country,” shares Maryam.

Nineteen-year-old Muddasir, who cast his vote at the same polling station, is happy to announce his participation in the democratic process for the first time. “I have been waiting for years to come of age to become eligible to cast my vote.”

Similarly, Almas Usama is excited to have cast her vote at a polling station set up in the Rabia City area. She arrived there with her family members. “I was so excited that I could not sleep last night,” she says, as she waves her inked thump. Though she complained of a bit slow polling process, she was largely satisfied with the environment inside the polling station and the overall process.

“There is only one person who has motivated us to get out of our homes and cast votes,” Basil, 21, says after having cast his vote for the first time. “Our vote is only for Qaidi No 804,” his sister interjects, referring to incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan. “He is languishing behind bars for us,” adds their grandmother seated at a chair outside the polling station.

Basil believes that everyone should play their part irrespective of whoever wins at the end of the day. He says he was under the impression that there would be crowds at the polling station, but there was no such thing as he arrived and the voting process was smooth and hassle-free.

Two sisters — Suhaima Maqbool, 20, and Muskan, 18 – were scanning a voter list at a political party’s camp outside the Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan polling station in NA-238 East District. “We were excited till yesterday but it ended today as my vote is on the list, while my sister’s is not,” laments Suhaima, visibly upset.

“We are trying to message her CNIC on ECP’s 8300 service but all in vain due to suspension of cellular service.” A great many voters seemed perturbed as they reached polling stations in various areas only to find their votes missing. Some returned without casting their ballot while others went from one polling station to the other hoping to find their votes.

Besides, social media platforms were also flooded with posts of netizens sharing excitement over having cast their ballot for the first time. There were some first-time voters who didn’t know that they had actually cast two votes one for the National Assembly seat and one for the provincial assembly at a polling station in NA-248, District Central. Faraz, 19, returned home.

He was confused when his elders asked him whether he had cast both votes. He says that although there were two boxes he only got the while ballot and thought the green ballot was for the elderly people. Neither did he seek the green ballot nor did he cast his vote for the NA.