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(Ishaq Rana, Regional Editor, Contact Pakistan, Al-Khobar, April 30, 2002). The Poling started at 9.OO A: M local time and continued until closing time. The turnout was good as it was first time the voting rights were given to Overseas Pakistanis. I visited myself and saw the happiness over the faces of voters may be it was the first time in the history of Pakistan that voting rights were given to overseas Pakistanis who make major contribution to Pakistan in shape of foreign exchange. Being a working day in Saudi Arabia in the morning it was a bit slow but in the after noon it picked up and groups of Pakistani males and females were pouring to poling stations. Also the young men of 18 years of age were allowed to cast their vote first time, so a great enthusiasm was seen around Pakistani Community School Al-Khobar where poling was being held.
I asked Poling agent Mr. Rashid Hussain, correspondent of daily Dawn, Karachi and BBC Urdu service, London and Mr. Iftikhar Nadeem, Poling agent, ContactPakistan.com for their views of today’s poling. Both said it has been very transparent, smooth and easy as there were few poling booths and several ballot boxes and more than 6 teams were working. They said categorically that we have seen great enthusiasm that clearly indicates that Pakistanis want Musharaf policies to be continued. They respect him for up-bringing Pakistan’s image abroad. They want him to continue for the betterment and development of Pakistan. All Pakistani gathered there wished that overseas Pakistanis should be given the right of voting permanently.
The Presiding Officer, Mr. Ahsan Ullah Batth (First Secretary, Embassy of Pakistan) and Assistant Presiding Officer, Professor Babar Mustafa Butt, Principal Pakistani Community School said they are quite satisfied with the poling that is going on very smoothly. We have decided to let those voters exercise their rights little after the closing who are at the poling station. Total amount of votes were 4563. Out of which 4483 were YES and 80 NO. The result was more than 98% YES
The same poling team also completed the postal ballot yesterday evening at Al-Khobar. Six hundreds plus voters have exercised their voting rights for the referendum. They had already applied to Embassy of Pakistan, Riyadh. The school staff is helping the Embassy team.
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