Rawalpindi - The turnout during the polls on Wednesday remained relatively low in Rawalpindi city and Cantonment. In many polling stations, less than 100 votes were cast by the voters till 2pm.  However, the turnout was higher in Morgah and Chah Sultan.

The final turnout will be made available late night after the compilation of the polling stations’ result.

Meanwhile, some senior politicians of Rawalpindi attributed the low turnout with increased number of polling stations in the city. “For 1000 votes, a polling station was established and the turnout is not visible,” said a senior politician of the city. 

He said people also preferred to stay indoors due to the harsh weather condition. Another politician said the detention of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Muhammad Hanif Abbasi in Adiala jail has made the elections one sided and the voters were angry over the decisions of courts. “That is why, the turnout was low,” he said.  During a visit to various polling stations of NA-59, NA-61, NA-62 and NA-63 in city, cantonment and rural areas, less numbers of voters were found queuing up outside the stations.  Around 470 votes were cast by the voters in the female polling station established at Government Usmania Girls School, Naz Cinema (NA-62), till 4:30pm. Similarly, 175 out of 1092 people voted at a polling station at Bagh Sardaran till 12:45 afternoon. At polling station number 39 (NA-59 and PP-12), a total of 61 votes were cast till 2:15pm. At some polling stations in the constituency, the presiding officers told The Nation that the polling staff had resumed their duties at 8:00 am. At majority of the polling stations the first vote was cast after 9.00 am. They said that the process was going smoothly, few people visited the polling station to exercise their right to vote in the morning but more people arrived in the evening. 

They said that they had hardly entertained any requests to cast votes on the production of documents other than Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs). “We did not allow anyone to cast their vote on the production of photocopies of NICs and receipts of NADRA for a new card,” said Tauqeer Akbar Raja, presiding officer at Westridge.  At the women’s polling station in Raja Bazaar, only 250 women had cast their votes till 3:00 pm, out of the 1731 registered voters in that area. At the men’s polling station of the same area, total voters were 1337 while only 300 votes had cast their vote.

The men’s polling station in the Government Ziaul Islam School, Raja Bazaar, recorded 129 voters till 2:00 pm. Total voters in the area were 1100, the polling station at Mission High School, Iqbal Road recorded 210 votes out of 1237 registered voters. The lowest turnout was also recorded at the women polling station at Government Gordon College, Liaquat Road as only 141 votes polled out of 1476 registered voters till 3:00 pm. On the other hand, the turnout was very high in four polling stations in Government Elementary Girls High School, ARL of NA-59 and PP-13 where more than 1700 people used their right of vote. The total registered voters were 3000, according to a presiding officer.

Rift within PML-N and PTI visible

at polling stations

The rift within PML-N and PTI was clearly visible at polling stations as the party supporters remained busy wooing people for their candidates on Wednesday. PML-N workers at Khyaban-e-Sir Syed polling stations urged the voters to for vote for the National Assembly candidate of PML-N and any other candidate for the Provincial Assembly seat.  According to party leaders, the two main leaders of PML-N had differences as PML-N awarded the ticket to Malik Shakil Awan for PP-18 but Zia Ullah Shah was angry over this. After the announcement of party tickets, the supporters of Zia Ullah Shah staged protests during election campaign in different areas. 

On the other hand, PTI supporters were seen convincing the voters to vote for their candidate.

 Some party leaders of PTI were angry over the party support for Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and their supporters launched campaign on polling day.

“Some people requested to vote for bat for provincial assembly but vote for national assembly to anyone,” said Abdul Hafeez, at Raja Bazaar.

 Samina Naz, at Bagh Sardaran, said that some women of political parties tried to convince her to vote for their party only for bat in provincial assembly and not for national assembly.

Malik Shakil Awan, Zia Ullah Shah and Sheikh Rashid could not be contacted for their point of views.