The political parties and their activists on Sunday violated the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan in the local bodies’ elections that were held peacefully with a few clashes in Karachi divisions.
As the polls started at 8am, the turnout remained significantly low with election staff gossiping over cups of tea waiting for voters.
The proper polling activity started after 1pm.
“Around 1,741 votes are registered and only 11 have turned up till 10am. Waiting for others,” said Ghazanfar Ali, presiding officer in the East district’s Akhtar Colony.
“We have made all the arrangements, it’s now the political parties prerogative to sensitise their voters to come here,” he said.
The officials of the election commission however, claimed that the average voter turnout remained 15 to 20 per cent.
During the visit to different areas of the district, it was revealed that the supporters of different candidates were carrying the voters in vehicles till the polling stations blatantly violating code of conduct.
A mini-van painted with party colours was loaded with women and men who arrived at Defence View Phase 2 to cast the vote.
“You have come late,” a man who received the aspiring voters said.
Responding to him an elderly woman said, “We were ready, but you have sent the vehicle late”.
The election commission code of conduct on the polling days said that no candidates, agents or their supporters shall use the transport to carry voters except their own immediate family members.
But all was done in front of election staff and law enforcers.
On the elections day, there is complete ban on exhibition of notices, signs, banners or flags outside the polling stations to encourage or discourage the voters from voting for a particular person, but this is never implemented.
As per rules, the candidates and their party activists were barred from interfering or creating hindrance in the elections process, but Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) MPA Fridous Shamim Naqvi was allegedly accused of breaking the seal of ballot box in Soldier Bazar area of the city.
The officials of the election commission ordered the expulsion of the PTI MPA from the polling station soon after Naqvi’s video went viral in which he was opening the seal of a ballot box.
Similarly, there was a clash at the Chanesar Goth polling station in district East where PPP and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) workers fought using kicks and fists soon after vote count started.
The political activists misbehaved with media workers snatching their mobile phones.
The situation came under control when Rangers arrived and a heavy contingent of police arrived.
The tension prevailed in Gulshan e Maymar when PPP and PTI workers attacked each other in UC-11 including PPP candidate for UC chairman Hilal Rehmani, son of PPP MNA Shahida Rehmani.
Soon after the incident, police arrested the PTI MPA Rabistan Khan.
However, the Sindh Chief Minister’s coordinator Shahzad Memon also came under attack and his vehicle was broken following the brawl between his party workers and PTI members.
The leadership of both the parties accused each other for rigging the polls and creating a law and order situation.
But provincial election commissioner, Eijaz Chauhan congratulated the people of Sindh on holding the peaceful elections and said, “We have not received any complaint about misprint of ballot box and rigging. It was a great challenge for us, which we with the help of police, Rangers and provincial administration have done well”.
Leaders of MQM, however, claimed that the voter turnout remained low apparently because people of the city did not come out following their decision to boycott the polls.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari while speaking to media claimed Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) led mayor would be elected in Karachi with his party Jiyala to rein in the affairs of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
Jamaat e Islami and PTI also claimed to win the mayor seat in Karachi.
Out of 246 Union Committees where polls were held, the 124 are required for the position of KMC Mayor.