Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
July 26, 2018

Women drive Pindi voter turnout up


July 26, 2018

Rawalpindi : With many candidates being neck and neck in Rawalpindi city and cantonment areas, the women stepped out in large numbers to exercise their right to franchise on Wednesday and thus, driving the turnout up.

Both young and elderly, they went to their respective polling stations either by own conveyance or by foot to elect representatives for the national and provincial assemblies.

The turnout at women polling stations was low in early hours after the polling began at 8a.m. It, however, began picking up by midday as the female voters came in thick and fast and hit around 60 per cent almost three hours before the official closing time of 6p.m.

Wearing clothes matching the flags of their favourite parties, youth made up a large number of those voters. Many among them cast vote for the first time as they got the computerised national identity cards on reaching the age of 18 after the 2013 general elections.

Though Rawalpindi city and cantonment areas have three National Assembly constituencies, the real hustle and bustle of election was seen in NA-62, where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-backed Awami Muslim League leader and seven-time MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmad was taken on by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Senator Chaudhry Tanveer’s young son and political newcomer, Barrister Daniyal Chaudhry.

In the constituency consisting of Rawalpindi downtown and parts of Saddar and Chaklala cantonment areas, the supporters of candidates, including women, guided voters about polling in tents put up near polling stations before giving them their respective voter registration numbers in writing.

They also helped women with disabilities reach polling stations, which were set up in government schools.

Though the actual voter turnout was to be disclosed by the Election Commission of Pakistan only after the official polling closing time, the visit of ‘The News’ to various women polling stations in Rawalpindi city and cantonment areas from morning to evening clearly showed the people showing up in droves to exercise their right to franchise.

The ECP has already predicted higher voter turnout in Punjab than around 58 per cent recorded in the 2013 elections.

The presiding officer of the Government Christian Higher Secondary School, Raja Bazaar, polling station said of around 1,200 women votes, 60 were cast by midday but the number went up to 750 by around 4pm with many women still queued up.

Things were no different at the FG Public Secondary School Mehfooz Road and Saint Mary’s Cambridge School Murree Road polling stations, where women began to pour in only after the middle of the day.

Most women showed up to make their voice heard for own empowerment and national development, while their electoral choices were mostly driven by development work carried out by the ruling parties and the candidates’ charisma and public image.

Asiya Bibi, 45-year-old schoolteacher from a Committee Chowk area, favoured the PML-N nominees, saying the Nawaz Sharif-led party’s government built infrastructure and ended energy crisis.

She said she’s not bothered by the corruption conviction of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter and liked Sharifs for giving the people better life to live and wanted to see them in power in future, too, for continued development.

Naila Ashraf, 38, had turned up at a Saddar polling station despite having undergone a major surgery lately.

She said first she considered the casting of vote to be a national responsibility and second, she wanted to see a real change in her and others’ life and therefore, she along with other female family members had decided to vote for ‘honest, incorrupt and incorruptible’ Imran Khan or his backed candidates.

Some women said they voted for the candidates chosen by male family elders.

“We (family) have long been voting for Sheikh Rashid Ahmad as he’s from among us. We’ve seen him grow up and serve us without discrimination,” said housewife Rukhsana, 40, outside a Murree Road polling station.

Student Javeria Munir, 19, was excited to be at a Raja Bazaar polling station, saying she’ll cast vote for the first time in life.

“It’s fun to be a voter for the first time. At the same time, I’m here to be part of the PTI’s struggle for change by ousting those tried and tested many times,” she said declaring July 25 a big day for her.

Some women had taken small children along to polling stations.

“I and my husband had decided last night that we’ll take children to polling stations for vote awareness. From knowing my voter registration number to locating polling station to carrying out the electoral exercise, I explained everything to my accompanying daughter considering vote education to be my duty as a citizen,” said Maleeha Akram.

She said she was hopeful that her children would follow in the parents’ footsteps by fulfilling their duty of casting vote whenever there’re elections.

Few women complained that they struggled to find their names in electoral lists finalised for their respective polling stations. However, no untoward incident was reported.

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus