pakistan
Tuesday Jul 24 2018
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Here's what first-time voters are expecting as they head to polls

First-time voters hold immense importance as they represent the newest voices making their wishes for government known. Photo: File
 

KARACHI: With the 2018 general election just around the corner, young voters are geared up to exercise their democratic right especially those who will be voting for the first time. 

First-time voters hold immense importance as they represent the newest voices and hold the power to enact great change at polls. 

Geo.tv spoke to a few first-time voters regarding their expectations and concerns pertaining to the General Election 2018, which have been scheduled for July 25 (Wednesday). 

Rigging in elections

Rigging proved to be one of the biggest concerns the young people had regarding the country's electoral process. 

According to a 20-year-old law student, Areeba Hussain from Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the biggest concerns for her is rigging.

“Rigging happened the last time around at polling stations and I won’t be surprised if it did this time too,” she said.

A student from NUST, Waqas Rehman, shared similar concerns. “Obviously, I do have concerns related to rigging and what not, but it's hard to tell what's propaganda and what's fact. It’s also because the democratic government, in practice, may lack the efforts and transparency that the international standard demands,” he said.

Weighing in on the issue, Fatima Waqar, who is studying in Lahore School of Economics, remarked “It's Pakistan. I would be deluded to think rigging would be completely eliminated and the elections will be fair.”

“This country is run by a group of corrupt politicians who have ruined the basis of any effective governance through bribery and fear. During the polling process, they often have their own people rig the elections and win by any means necessary. This needs to be stopped,” said Noormah Ahmad, a student of Themis School of Law.

Twenty-two-year-old Waleed Akram remarked that he heard first-hand accounts of ballots being rigged in at least three different constituencies during the last elections. However, he remarked that it doesn’t concern him. 

“Democracy is the way forward. No other form of government other than democracy is suitable for this nation,” said Akram, who is currently enrolled at National University of Medical Sciences.

Civic concerns

Other major concerns among first-time voters were related to sanitation, provision of water, disposal of garbage, access to education and healthcare among other things.

Twenty-year-old Heyam Basir shared that the next government should work to solve the current water shortage in Karachi, adding that more police personnel should be deployed to “cut back on crime that is prevalent in the city.”

“I want the next government to work on garbage disposal problems, water issues and load-shedding,” said 21-year-old Aymen Ansari.

“I just hope the [elected candidates] address basic needs of people such as water, electricity, gas, security and education among others,” said 18-year-old Ammar Umar Shaikh. 

The next government should work on ‘genuine’ issues and Sustainable Development Goals, rather than building more roads, shared Quratulain.

Expectations

Despite highlighting countless problems in the country, some of the young people hoped for the situation to improve in the near future.

“I hope for a fairer state, where people get equal educational rights, where poor people get rights. I hope for a new and better Pakistan,” shared Haram Ali.

“With so much wrong in the country at the moment, one can only hope for stability and the status quo to not get out of hand. Priority should be given to domestic issues like water and electricity shortages which has almost brought life to a standstill in many places of the city,” Areeba added.