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Mohmand: Social media gaining huge importance in election campaigns

GHALANAI: Candidates of political parties and those running election campaign as independent candidates in tribal district Mohmand are recognizing the use of social media in electioneering.

Social media sites and services on the internet, such as SMS text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube blogs are playing an important role in campaigning for the upcoming general elections which are going to take place on July 25.

Political parties, hunting for votes in the area, are speeding up their campaigning through social media platforms and providing and explaining their party programs on them.

The use of social media for electioneering was started by Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf (PTI) workers and was later followed by other parties which has turned out to have a great importance.

Zabit Khan of PTI Mohmand’s social media cell told that he contacted PTI workers and supporters through social media.

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He said that hundreds and thousands of tribesmen including youths had been registered with the PTI in Mohmand because of social media.

“Many of the supporters of the PTI are young who use social media sites on regular basis,” said Khan.

He said that they were conducting and confirming all their public gatherings/ corner meetings through social media contacts in the region.

Some potential voters said the use of social media was making it easier to stay abreast and to make decisions about voting. A resident of Mohmand district, Mohammad Bilal Khan told the scribe, “It’s now very easy to get access to breaking news by subscribing to an SMS package from the news agencies. As for voting, if you send an SMS to 8300, the Election Commission of Pakistan will send you details of voting location in your area.”

Gul Zada, resident of Pandiali Danish Kool, warned that fast and forward social media sometime can be harmful if misused and can spread false news like fire in the jungle.

“If it is used to disseminate information then that’s okay, but young people can go astray by indulging in obscene or inappropriate activities using these tools.”

Savid Jan Senior Vice president of the Awami National Party (ANP) Mohmand said that no one could ignore the value of social media. He said that the ANP had many supporters and workers inside and outside Pakistan who used social media sites to keep in touch with the party.

President Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Youth Wing Mohmand district Perveez Khan said the PML-N was the first party in Pakistan to make a website to reach and interact with its supporters. Since then, he said, they had been using social media to spread their message to large audiences.

It should be mentioned here that the all the departments of government of Pakistan were using social media platforms to render information to the general public.

Ghulam Hussain Mohib President of Mohmand Press Club said that if the social media were used responsibly, they could provide immense information. But, he said, since there was no check and balance for social media despite a cyber law was passed, so it was important to first verify the information that you get there.

In Pakistan, about every government department and non-governmental organizations maintain their own websites so that public could get information while sitting at home.

An official of the District Election Commission in Mohmand said that modern technology had made it easy for people to communicate via social media rather than letters.

“The Election Commission has also started using social media to give voters information about polling stations and their vote’s registration. If a person sends an SMS text to the number 8300, he will receive a message confirming whether he has been registered and his polling station.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan is also updating its website with the latest information for voters,” he added.

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