Friday May 24, 2024

Hyderabad’s urban areas witness low turnout amid fights, firing and allegations of fake votes

By Aftab Ahmed
February 09, 2024

HYDERABAD: Incidents of scuffles and firing marred polling in some urban parts of Hyderabad, where 233 candidates were in the electoral race for three national and six provincial seats on Thursday.

Voters are in queue waiting to cast their votes at a polling station during the General Election 2024, in Hyderabad on February 8, 2024. — PPI
Voters are in queue waiting to cast their votes at a polling station during the General Election 2024, in Hyderabad on February 8, 2024. — PPI

Most of the polling stations in Hyderabad were deserted till noon, and eight people were injured in incidents of firing and clashes at different places. The voting process for the general elections continued from 8am to 5pm without a break. A total of 883 polling stations had been established in Qasimabad, Latifabad, City and rural taluks, where the polling staff started the voting process but voters mostly arrived in the afternoon. Hundreds of voters who arrived late could not cast their votes.

The Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League, GDA, and independent candidates accused one another of rigging, casting fake votes, firing and fights.

A clash broke out between PPP and MQM workers at Polling Station No. 132 of Hyderabad constituency NA-220, Government Hospital, Pretabad, in which five people were injured, and the polling process stopped.

An incident took place at the polling station of Government Baqaiz Primary School Latifabad No. 9 of NA-219 in which ballot paper boxes and seals were scattered. After the incident, a heavy contingent of police and Rangers reached the polling station

Due to change of names in voter lists, a scuffle between PPP and MQM workers took place at the St. Bonaventure School polling station. Both sides fired freely with pistols and Kalashnikovs. At the time of the incident, PPP candidates for NA-220 Waseem Rajput and his friend former SSP Pir Farid Jan Sirhandi were present.

After the incident, SSP Amjad Sheikh and a heavy contingent of Rangers arrived, took control of the situation, and restarted the polling process after a 15-minute break. According to the MQM spokesman, PPP candidate Waseem Rajput and party supporters were involved in the occupation of the polling station and rigging.

After this, the Election Commission took notice and ordered restoration of law and order. SSP Amjad Ahmed Shaikh reached different places, dispersed the miscreants, and restarted the polling.

In general, the voters failed to reach the polling stations to support their candidates, due to which the turnout was low turnout in urban parts of the city. As the PTA did not issue any announcement about the suspension of mobile phone service, most of the citizens were waiting to use their mobile phones to get information about the polling station and their votes by texting the number issued by the Election Commission.

The mobile phone service was stopped before the start of the polling, so many citizens could not cast their votes as they were not even familiar with polling stations. Voters in urban areas went to the polling stations in the afternoon, while in the rural areas, a good turnout of voters was seen at most of the polling stations early in the morning.