This is a preliminary report issued by Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) for observing the election process at NA-260 (Quetta-Cum-Chaghi-Cum-Noshki). Total number of Registered voters in the constituency is 460202 including 274367 male voters and 185835 female voters. Total number of polling stations set up in the constituency is 407 with 993 polling booths, 571 for male voters and 422 for female voters. This report presents the the observation of the opening process of polling in the constituency.
The observation teams reached the designated polling stations at 7:30 am to observe the preparedness of the poling staff and the opening process of voting at the polling stations. At all the sampled polling stations the polling staff cooperated with the observation teams however the security staff at polling station #47 (Government College of Education Nasirabad) stopped the observer on the gate despite ECP accreditation card, asking him to show authority letter from the ECP. Later on the issue was resolved amicably.
At the approach of the pooling stations the observers noted the environment outside the polling station. 40 % polling stations had queues of voters outside the gate before opening of the voting. Observers reported that campaign material and campaign activity was seen outside 40% of the polling stations. Presence of party camps near the polling stations was also observed. Two party camps were seen within 200 meters of the PS#119 (Government Boys High School Kili Nasaran).
Situation outside the polling station before the start of the polling stations was generally calm however one observer reported that party workers were chanting slogans against each other outside the polling station #109 (Government High School Kotwal), the security forces intervened and the situation did not escalate; it caused a delay of 10 minutes in start of the voting process, though.
The polling staff was present on the sampled polling stations at the starting time of the voting process. It was observed that female staff had been deputed on the polling booths designated for the females.
Starting time of the polling is 8 am however 40% of the sampled polling stations started late with delay of 1 to 10 minutes; major cause of delay was unpreparedness of the polling staff however at one polling station the delay was caused due to unrest outside the polling station. The polling station lay out at the start of the polling was generally found to be suitable for voting at all the sampled polling stations.
Essential polling material i.e ballot boxes, secrecy screens, seals, indelible ink, voters’ lists etc was present at all the polling stations. All the polling stations had sufficient number of ballot papers. The presiding officers at the sampled polling stations told the observers that ECP had provided them adequate number of ECP forms, envelops and the tamper evident bags to document the polling information and preserve the polling material.
The polling staff carried out the opening procedures at 100% of the sampled polling stations, the empty ballot boxes were shown to the polling agents and sealed in their presence. The polling started at all polling booths in presence of the poling agents from major political parties. The CED observers were allowed to observe the opening process without any restrictions.
Though major parties have tried to deploy their polling agents at polling stations but a lot of polling booths still lacked presence of some of the major parties’ polling agents. An analysis of preliminary data available at the starting time of the polling shows that PKMAP had maximum presence with polling agents deployed at 81% of the sampled polling booths. While National party has the lowest presence with its polling agents deployed at 36% of the polling booths. BNP, JUI (F), and PTI had their polling agents present on 72% sampled polling booths while PML (N) deployed its polling agents on 54% of the observed polling booths.
The observers also reported presence of unauthorised persons inside the polling stations. At polling station #3 (Government Boys High School Sabzal) uninvited security personal were seen, at female polling station # 232 (Government Rest House Hanna) uninvited security personnel and local officials were seen inside the polling station. The unauthorised persons were not reported to apparently interfere in the work of PS staff.
Observing the complaint lodging and handling at polling stations one observer reported that formal complaint was lodged at PS#109 where the party workers had gathered outside the polling station and chanted slogans. The situation was handled amicably and the crowd was pacified before opening the polling station, it caused ten minutes delay in start of the polling.
The observers reported their satisfaction about cooperation of the PS staff, at 100% sampled polling station the observers were allowed to observe the opening procedure without restriction. The opening process was carried out in front of the party representatives and no restriction to that effect was observed by the observers.