Karachi: Enumerators manhandled, robbed while registering voters
Karachi: Hundreds of enumerators have been given long lists of registered citizens by the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) with a directive to mark and verify the “eligible voters”.
The process is to be completed by November 15, 2011, but the enumerators are facing some unexpected problems in accomplishing the task.
During door-to-door visits in some thickly populated areas of the city, they have been manhandled and more often than not also looted of their valuables by criminals.
A survey conducted by The News revealed that most of the enumerators belong to government schools and are part of the teaching staff. A female teacher said that she preferred to be accompanied by a male family member during her field visits.
Being a woman, she felt that it was more difficult for her to perform her duty as compared to male enumerators.
It is a must for teachers and other staff members registering voters to attend to their schools at least for two hours each day before going out in the field, she told The News.
A male enumerator said that he had devised a very intelligent trick to get people’s cooperation. He would first introduce himself to the influentials of the area requesting them to help him achieve his targets who would assisted him in approaching the locals.
He also pointed out that the process of gathering information by filling certain forms provided by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECO) is a very cumbersome process which takes a long time.
Commenting on the people’s behaviour, an enumerator said: “People are unaware of the importance of voting. Besides, they seem disappointed by the way politics is done in the country.”
In response to a question, another enumerator said the work was not just difficult but it was also “unscientific” to go door to door for gathering information.
In several cases, people do not even bother to come out of their houses. The enumerators are thought of as sales agents who visit houses for marketing purposes, he complained.
The headmaster of a school, whose teaching staff was also among those working as enumerators, feared that the process of providing complete voters’ lists would take further time and ultimately the date would also be extended.
He suggested that the work of gathering information should be done in a more scientific way, either by setting control rooms or displaying centres where residents should be asked to visit and register themselves as voters.
After the completion of the first phase of the Draft Electoral Rolls of more than 80 million voters under the close supervision of the ECP, the process of verification had started in August 2011 but because of the floods and other difficulties the final date was extended.
The survey by The News revealed that the target of achieving exact verifications would take a longer period of time.
According to Deputy Chairman NADRA, Tariq Malik, Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) issued by NADRA are mandatory to cast votes according to the legislation approved by Parliament.
Malik pointed out that NADRA has registered 93 percent of adult population of Pakistan by issuing 86 million CNICs with an ambitious plan to register the rest in the next six months.
Previously, the ECO used to conduct only door-to-door enumeration filling forms by hiring more than 200,000 teachers for the purpose. The information collected manually was usually marred with errors later translated into updated electoral rolls.
This time however with the help of NADRA, ECO would be able to verify the information already printed in forms, significantly reducing the error margin Malik told The News.
According to the deputy chairman, the process of printing of Draft Electoral Rolls of 130 districts was possible only after extensive analysis of the Final Electoral Rolls of
February 2008, done in close collaboration of ECP and NADRA along with the data from Pakistan Census Organisation. The draft electoral rolls now consist of 80.6 million eligible voters with valid CNICs.