The caretaker government had one job – hold timely, free/fair elections – and that was put to the test today.
To start off, the day kicked off with communication being disrupted as the government looked to address legitimate security concerns during polling.
The electorate – and the rest of the hapless nation – were not able to check where their polling station was located.
Earlier, most government officials and even the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had declared on record that internet and cellular services will not be shut down.
Dr Umar Saif, Caretaker Minister for IT and Telecom who unveiled the first-ever IT and ITeS export strategy to increase Pakistan’s IT exports, was nowhere to be found.
He looked to bring PayPal one way or another, but failed to fight the case for connectivity on the country’s biggest day – election day. Remember this when he looks to pitch Pakistan’s IT potential next time around.
Meanwhile, the election process started late at many polling stations and large queues were seen at many polling stations.
The officials of the caretaker government successfully approved the restructuring of our beleaguered national airline, PIA, and the privatisation of First Women’s Bank Limited.
One of its key players, the controversial caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, was also elected unopposed as the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) – one of the most sought-after positions in the country.
But the caretakers cared very little for disabled and elderly voters as people on wheelchairs and with mobility issues faced difficulties during the voting process.
Reaching polling booths was an arduous job for them as there were no ramps, and in some cases, polling booths were on either first or even second floors – without elevators.
On top of that, voters were further confused with the symbols allotted to the respective candidates.
And last but not least, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar was making his presence known in Davos, Switzerland to participate in the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), less than a month prior to election day.
On Thursday, he was, however, appreciating the efforts of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Interim Provincial Governments, Armed Forces, Civil Armed Forces, police, law enforcement agencies, election staff, the media, and all those institutions and individuals who contributed to the conduct of the free and fair elections.
Did the day proceed the way it was supposed to? Or are we missing something?
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