Media not allowed in Ship Owners College -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media not allowed in Ship Owners College

While the Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) held sway in District Central, the denying of entry to media personnel inside the Ship Owners College by the police and the Presiding Officer (PO), left a bad taste in the mouth in what otherwise seemed to a peaceful electoral process according to reports, the Sub Inspector (SI) Shakeel and PO Badar Jamal prevented the media personnel from entering the polling station, stating that they had received late night orders which had said the media be barred from covering the elections here They claimed that this station had been declared as a sensitive polling station. Rangers had cordoned off the gate of the college and entry was allowed only after voters displayed their Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC). Badar said despite holding passes issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan, media were still not allowed to cover the electoral process.

Meanwhile, at the APWA government Girls College for women, media people arrived at around 4.45 p.m. The PO there did not provide any details regarding the entry. The polling here, however, was smooth sailing. The situation at NA-243 was also similar to the other polling stations of District Karachi Central at Surjani town, New Karachi.

During a survey conducted by The News in District Central, Dr Nadeem Ahsan of NA-247 and another PS-104 candidate — both MQM candidates — breezed through the polling process. At a polling station housed inside the Hussaini Government Boys Secondary School, Nazimabad number 3, polling started at around 8.35 a.m. and the polling agents of only one party were seen seated at the station. When asked, the Presiding Officer (PO) claimed that polling started late because officials had to wait for other polling agents to arrive and when no one turned up, the polling began.

At another polling station in the same locality, the Government Girls Pilot Higher Secondary School Nazimabad number 3, officials said that though the polling started on time, one polling agent turned up. There was low voter turn-out between 11.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m., but the head count increased as the day progressed. The PO, Shabana Nadeem, said that her staff did not face any problems during the election process. A similar situation was also seen at the Government Farqaleet School, Nazimabad number 1.

The situation at the Abdullah Government Girls College was slightly different where one Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) camp was seen. The camp organiser, Hasan Ullah Hasan Zai, said that he did not face any problems while setting up camp over there. According to the PO at Abdullah College, one of the polling booths had 633 male votes and 608 female votes and till 12.00 p.m. only 51 votes were cast as the voter turn-out was low, he added.

At another polling station in the same college, several men and women were seen waiting in line to cast their votes. Mohammed Akhtar Siddiqi, 75, who despite being handicapped, came at the polling station to cast his vote. Siddiqi told The News that he came with his son to cast his vote as it was his national duty. Ahead of Abdullah College, PPP flags were visible and the party’s supporters were seen moving about in their vehicles. In Liaquatabad, the MQM candidate (PS 107) Shoaib Bukhari visited the polling station and told the media personnel that Rangers were deployed in the area, and were conducting the necessary security checks among voters.

At the Ibrahim Ali Bhai Government School, North Nazimabad Block A, the situation was little different as an MMA camp was visible. According to the PO there, only 98 votes were cast till 12.30 p.m. out of 439. The PO at the Bakhtiyari Youth Centre said that this polling station comprises Pathans who do not want their women to cast their vote. In fact, a majority of the voters here are from the katchi abadis like Pahar Ganj and Umer Farooq Colony, and are quite conservative.
Source: The News
Date:2/19/2008