Donned in light pink clothes, nine-year-old Aliza waited outside the gate of Karimabad polling station for her aunt.
Aliza was one of the children who had been left to wait on the sidewalk outside SMS Aga Khan School, which served as the Karimabad polling station. They waited patiently at first, then stood and sat restlessly, and finally wandered off in their thoughts.
"My mom left me here," said another 11-year-old girl, Samreen. A large number of housewives had showed up at the polling station besides men dropping by on their way to work.
"We can't leave the kids alone at home," said Samreen's mother when she came outside after casting her vote. A 15-year-old boy, Arsalan Merchant, had also come to the election venue. "I came here to see because next time I am going to vote, too", he said.
Other than children, there were some adults as well who were left in the waiting area as their relatives were inside the polling booths. One of them was a 35-year-old woman who had brought her limping mother.
She had cast her vote in another polling station and refused to share who she voted for. "We don't get into these things," she said, adding that she had been advised against talking about political matters in or outside her community.
According to the sister of a middle-aged man seated in a wheelchair, while the law enforcers are providing security to the voters this time, they are also worrying the common man.
Another woman in a shiny burqa was waiting outside the polling booth, carrying her three-year-old daughter in her arms under the scorching sun. Her wait finally came to an end when her husband arrived on a scooter and she handed him the confused baby over to cast her vote.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2015.
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