islamabad - There are a number of contestants in the electoral politics of district Rawalpindi, who have been allies in the past but are now contesting against each other in the upcoming general elections.
The American businessmen, Ross Perot, had said; “war has rules, mud wrestling has rules but politics has no rules”. The quote applies to the electoral politics of the country.
For instance, the two candidates for national assembly’s seat NA-58 (Gujar Khan) Raja Javed Ikhlas of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Chaudhry Muhammad Azeem of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were on same page in the past and both served as District Nazim Rawalpindi and Tehsil Nazim Gujar Khan respectively from the same platform of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
On the other side, one of the wings of Raja Ikhlas on provincial seat PP-8 in this election Chaudhry Muhammad Riaz was himself an opponent of Raja in 2008 on National Assembly seat from Gujar Khan.
The residents of the garrison city also know that a candidate of PTI from PP-14, Raja Muhammad Basharat, who is contesting elections with Senator Chaudhry Tanveer Khan from the platform of PML-N but in present elections, the son of later Usama Tanveer Chaudhry is contesting election against his father’s former colleague and party fellow from aforementioned constituency.
On the other hand, Barrister Danyal Chaudhry, the older son of Senator Chaudhry Tanveer is running from NA-62 against the head of Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, who had also shared electoral platform with his father in past.
Engineer Qamar-ul-Islam Raja had made an entry into electoral politics from PML-Q in 2008 and later joined hands with PML-N and contested from the party in 2013.
Since then, he remained a trustworthy aide of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan being an MPA, however both are now in front of each other on both provincial and national assembly seat.
The former vice president Rawalpindi Cantonment board Raja Jahandad, who was voted out by a no-confidence move by his own party members was once an important wing for Malik Ibrar Ahmed, a candidate of PML-N from NA-61, but is now running for the same seat as an independent candidate.
Ijaz Khan Jazi of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had contested as independent candidate against Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed in by-elections in 2009 and he was his strong critic but now both are running in elections under a coalition.
Jailed leader of PML-N Hanif Abbasi, Fiaz-ul-Hassan Chohan of PTI and Raza Ahmed Shah of Jamat-e-Islami had entered the electoral process jointly from the platform of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in 2002, but interestingly all three are now contesting elections from their respective parties.
It is mandatory to reach the assembly to remain relevant in electoral politics and it is the reason that a politician instead of standing loyal with political parties for a long time tried to maintain their space in political arena.
Polling materials distributed among presiding officers
The returning officers (ROs) on Tuesday have distributed among the presiding officers the ballot papers and other equipment needed on the polling day.
The polling equipment was distributed in Judicial Complex under the supervision of District Returning Officer (DRO) Khalid, who is also District and Sessions Judge Rawalpindi.
The polling equipment has also been brought to the polling stations in the city amid tight security provided by Pakistan Army troops and police.
Equipment needed on polling day included ballot papers, ballot boxes, screens to offer privacy to voters, stamps, stamp pads, un-removable ink, bags to be used pack the votes and stationary items.
The voting and counting process will be held in a total of 2576 polling stations, set up by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in the city.
However, the presiding officers including females have lodged complaints of inadequate arrangements made by ECP and the district administration. They said the distribution of polling equipment began late.
A female presiding officer, who is a teacher at a government school, told The Nation that she arrived in Judicial Complex at 8am to get the polling equipment for her polling station located in Satellite Town but was handed over the ballot papers and other stuff at 1pm. “It was hard for me to wait in the hot and humid weather. Cold drinking water was also not available,” she said.
Another male teacher, who was deputed at assistant presiding officer at a school in Peoples Colony Tench Bhatta, also expressed his concerns over poor performance of Election Commission of Pakistan and the district administration.
He said he along with many other APOs were kept waiting for hours before being provided the polling material.
He said that Election Commission of Pakistan should take notice of the negligence and slow pace of work of District Returning Officer and returning officers.
Many other assistant presiding officers showed their concerns over slow process of distribution of polling equipment.
Meanwhile, police and other law enforcement agencies have made tight security arrangements to shield the people present in the Judicial Complex and to avoid any untoward incident.
Besides police and personnel of Law Enforcement Agencies, troops of Pakistan Army were deputed inside and around the Judicial Complex.
The traffic police and the army have also blocked the roads leading towards Judicial Complex.
All the vehicles including Suzuki pick-ups were parked in Jinnah Park by the City Traffic Police.
Later, the equipment of polling was transported to all the polling stations under heavy security of Pakistan Army. According to sources, troops of Pakistan Army will keep guarding the polling stations during night time in order to foil any rigging attempt in the city.
The polling in the city will start at 8am and will continue till 6pm.
Similarly, the Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers have also tested the ECP’s official mobile application for sharing the results of general elections 2018 successfully.