LAHORE: Female staff working at polling stations on Election Day have been exempt from staying overnight after a huge uproar.
Originally, all staff were instructed to spend the night of July 14 at the polling stations, leaving only after their duties, which includes preparing results, were completed
District Education Authorities (DEAs), under the Punjab School Education Department (SED), ordered officials to make proper arrangement for women. However, many of them objected to staying overnight at polling stations, most of which are government schools.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has extended polling time for the general elections to 6pm, which means staff will have to start their duties at 6am on July 25 (today) and continue up to the end of the polling process.
Most officials deployed by the ECP are teachers from government schools. This time round, ECP has also sought services from almost all government departments and state-owned companies.
“Female teachers performing election duties have been verbally informed of the decision,” stated Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) General Secretary Rana Liaquat.
While he applauded the decision to exempt female staff from overnight duties, he voiced his concerns over the lack of planning for polling officials. Polling staff were asked to pick up the electoral material on Tuesday at 10am to take it to their respective polling stations.
“The process is handled very badly. It is a hassle for polling staff to pick up the material,” he expressed. In addition to this, he stated that the ballot boxes were filled to the brim with mud and dust and needed thorough cleaning. He added that security apparatus should be used to transport the electoral material safely instead of asking the polling staff to collect it.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2018.