- MQM prepares to take on PPP, PTI and JI in Karachi as PML-N looks to counter PTI in Punjab
- Heavy deployment of Rangers and police made at sensitive polling stations in Karachi and other districts
Polling for the third and final phase of local government (LG) elections in 12 districts of Punjab and six in Sindh will be held today (Saturday).
The polling will begin at 7:30am and continue until 5:30pm without any break. The 12 districts of Punjab include Layyah, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rawalpindi, Jhang, Khushab, Multan, Sialkot, Narowal, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur. Elections have been delayed in 16 union councils of Rawalpindi due to court interventions.
In Sindh, the local government polls will be held in Karachi West, Karachi East, Karachi South, Karachi Central, Korangi and Malir. The Election Commission has made all the arrangements to hold elections in a fair and transparent manner. The commission has also established a control room in Islamabad which will work till the finalisation of results.
The Control Room will receive complaints regarding irregularities in the polling process and take action for their redressal. Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order and avoid any untoward incident.
As many as 5,251 candidates of Chairman and Vice Chairman (joint candidates) and 31,848 for General Members of Wards within Union Councils and Municipal Committees will contest the elections.
According to the ECP officials, a total of 2,507 wards have been formed within Union Councils and Municipal Committees in five Municipal Corporations, 12 District Councils and 58 Municipal Committees in different cities.
As many as 18 candidates of Chairman and Vice Chairman and 520 for General Members have been elected unopposed, while collectively 6,160 candidates have withdrawn their candidature.
A total 16,986,946 (male 9,447,933, female 7,539,013) voters will exercise their right to franchise in the elections.
As many as 12 DROs, 259 ROs and 518 AROs will supervise the election process while 14,470 presiding officers, 80,000 APOs and 40,000 Polling Officers will be responsible to hold elections.
District returning officers (DROs), returning officers (ROs) and assistant returning officers (AROs) have been asked to fulfil their duties as per law and rules.
The voter will have cast their votes at 40,000 polling booths of 14,470 polling stations.
SECURITY TIGHTENED, FORCES DEPLOYED AS KARACHI BRACES FOR LG POLLS:
The Sindh government, in consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has decided to deploy a force of 35,057 police personnel and 7,400 Rangers at polling stations in Karachi as a part of the security arrangements for local body polls.
The security personnel will be deployed at all the 4,037 polling stations of the metropolis, of which 1,714 have been declared as most sensitive and 1,329 have been declared sensitive.
Sindh Inspector General Police Ghulam Hyder Jamali, while briefing the Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah at the CM House on Friday, said, “there are three categories of force deployment such as static, mobile and motorcycle patrolling and the reserve platoons.”
“Rangers will be assisting police in ensuring a secure environment,” he added.
He said that the Pakistan Army was also deploying 10 companies, and each company has a force of 80 personnel. Similarly 7,400 Rangers personnel equipped with weapons and other necessary gadgets will also perform security duties.
“The Rangers would patrol through 88 mobiles and 180 motorcycles,” he added.
The Sindh chief minister directed the IG to ensure proper security during polling and till the counting and transferring of votes is completed.
“Sometimes serious incidents happen during the counting process, therefore security must be provided throughout the day,” the chief minister said.
Provincial Home Secretary Mohammad Waseem told Qaim that there are three zones in the city — South, East and West zones having seven districts.
There are 23 union councils and 213 union committees, where election for the seat of chairmen and vice chairmen will be held, he added.
The number of general seats for union council is 922 while for union committee the number of general seats comes to 852.
Waseem said that 12 political parties including PPP, PML-N, MQM-A, PTI, Sunni Tehrik, JUI-F, Jamat-e-Islami, JUI-P, ANP, PML-F, MQM-H, Qaumi Awami Tehreek and a large number of independent candidates are contesting the election.
The entire city would be covered through surveillance cameras already installed in the city and through mobile surveillance systems.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government has announced a public holiday in Karachi on December 5 to facilitate voters in casting their votes for local government election.
In this regard the government of Sindh has already issued notification according to which there would be public holiday in all five districts of Karachi on Saturday.
HIGHER TURNOUT EXPECTED IN RAWALPINDI:
Candidates contesting expect a high turnout during the third-phase of the elections in Rawalpindi.
The ECP has already finalised the arrangements for holding local bodies elections in the district.
“The people of Rawalpindi have enthusiastically participated in the election campaigns for their respective candidates, so there were strong expectations for high turnout in the city,” chairmanship candidate Suhail Khokhar said.
The contesting parties including Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan People’s Party and independent candidates have set up election camps near polling booths to help voters find their vote numbers on polling day.
For some observers, the youth of the city were more enthusiastic during the campaign, so they would be more forthcoming in exercising their right of franchise.
“Since, youth of the city have been actively involved in the elections so they consider it their responsibility to motivate voters to exercise their right,” another contesting candidate Abdul Ghayoor Butt said.
The District Election Commission has already given final shape to the arrangements for conducting elections in 174 Union Councils (UC) of the district including 46 of the city.
The ongoing election campaign ended on Thursday night while the presiding officers have been provided the polling material on Friday for conducting elections in their respective places on Saturday, December 5.
Meanwhile, the EC has delayed elections in 16 UCs of Rawalpindi on Supreme Court orders, while election in one UC was postponed due to the death of a candidate.
According to new delimitations, the 174 UCs comprising 120 District Councils, 46 Municipal Corporation of Rawalpindi and eight UCs of Municipal Corporation of Murree.
Meanwhile, LB election would be held in 14 wards of Municipal Corporation Kotli Sattian, 14 of Kahuta, 23 of Kalar Syedan, 19 of Gujjar Khan and 22 wards of Taxila.