Voters throng polling stations in Sindh local govt elections

Polling remains generally peaceful: Few incidents of mismanagement reported: MQM boycotts elections: Bilawal, Imran urge people to cast their votes

By: News Desk
Published: 09:25 AM, 15 Jan, 2023
 Voters throng polling stations in Sindh local govt elections
Caption: TV grab.
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Voting for the second phase of the local bodies’ elections in 16 districts of Sindh including Karachi and Hyderabad is peacefully underway Sunday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

A large number of voters are being witnessed lined up at the polling stations; the polling process will continue till 5pm.

So far, the elections remained peaceful as no major incident of violence was reported in the province. However, some incidents of mismanagement and irregularities triggering exchange of hot words were reported to the Election Commission of Pakistan. 

Talking to media in Karachi, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Hafiz Naeemur Rehman expressed his satisfaction over the “peaceful security situation” during the balloting. 

He, however, lamented that some polling stations were “burned down through a conspiracy as some elements wanted to stop the people from voting”.

“But I appreciate the spirit of Landhi and Labour Square people who came out to vote and defeated the design of terrorists,” he added. 

Long queues of voters could be seen outside the polling stations in Matyari. 

An 80-year-old woman cast her vote in Chanesar Town.

Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, too, cast his vote in Chanesar Goth. 

Strict security arrangements were ensured at the sensitive polling stations.

The security of such polling stations was handed over to the Frontier Corps (FC).

A close monitoring of the polling stations was carried out from the control room.

Sindh Rangers DG Major General Azhar Waqas visited the command and control room set up by the police and reviewed the security arrangements. 

Each voter will cast only two votes for 246 union committees in seven districts of Karachi.

Voting will be carried out in 984 wards of 246 union councils (UCs) of 25 towns of Karachi city.

There are 25 towns in Karachi city, and each town shall have an elected Nazim.

The elected vice-chairman of each UC will be a member of the Town Council.

In Hyderabad, 2,477 candidates are contesting in the local bodies’ elections of Hyderabad.

At least 705 polling stations have been established across the city.

As many as 1022,159 people will exercise their right to vote.

31 chairmen and vice-chairmen have been elected unopposed.

156 general members have also been elected unopposed.

It is to be noted here that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has announced boycotting the local bodies’ elections.

Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Saturday rejected the request from the Sindh government to defer local bodies' elections in the province, declaring that the election would definitely take place on Sunday.

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the ECP which was held in Islamabad on Saturday afternoon. Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja chaired the meeting virtually from Lahore.

An official handout signed by the ECP spokesperson stated the ECP’s decision while directing the Sindh government to ensure “foolproof preparations for peaceful elections”.

Irregularities reported during polls 

There were reports of polling being delayed in certain areas due to one reason or another. 

The polling process stopped at Jamshoro’s Union Council Siri after wrong election symbols of candidates were printed on the ballot papers.

PPP candidate from Ward 3 Ghulam Ali Khairu was allotted election symbol of Lock while Jamshoro Ittehad’v candidate Muhammad Salim Palari was allotted PPP’s election symbol of Arrow.

According to the DRO, the voting process at UC Siri has been halted while polling on another ward has also been deferred.

In UC 6 of district Kamyari, Karachi, polling could not be held due to wrong printing of bloc code and booth numbers. 

In Baldia’s UC 3 and UC 8, and UC 5 of New Karachi, balloting could not be started on time as the polling staff reached the polling stations late. The voters turned violent when the polling did not start on time. 

In Dadu, polling was also delayed due to late arrival of polling staff.

PPP complains to ECP over irregularities 

The Pakistan Peoples Party complained to the ECP over irregularities found in the voter lists and the election commission data during the second phase of local elections. It said that the PPP election cell is continuously receiving such complaints from different areas. Similar irregularities were observed in UC Murad Memon, UC Ghazi Brohi, UC Gharibabad and UC Chokundi in Malir district.

Security arrangements 

More than 43,605 law enforcement officials and personnel are performing their security duties for LG polls in Karachi under the security plan devised by the Sindh government.

In the Hyderabad division, the police sources said that a total of 19,536 policemen were deployed at the polling stations to maintain law and order.

Apart from the law enforcement agency, the police sources informed that 200 Frontier Constabulary and 500 Rangers personnel have also been deployed for the election duty.

Bilawal urges people to vote for Arrow

Foreign Minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the people to come out of their houses and make the PPP candidates successful by stamping the “Arrow”.

Aseefa urges people to vote for PPP

Her sister, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, had also urged the people in an audio message to vote for the PPP candidates in the local bodies’ elections.

Imran Khan says vote today is essential 

Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan in his Twitter message urged the people of Karachi, Hyderabad and Dadu to come out and vote. If they want change in their lives, their vote today is essential, he added.

Political parties’ camps set on fire

Unknown suspects set the camps of political parties on fire in the jurisdiction of Malir police station late at night.

The camps of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Mahajir Qaumi Movement near Boys Secondary School were set on fire.

A heavy contingent of police reached the spot to inquire into the incident.

80-year-old casts vote 

An 80-year-old woman showed up at a polling station to exercise her right to vote in Union Council-8 Chanesar Town, Karachi. 

The undeterred elderly woman said that she had been voting in every election since the formation of Pakistan and that ever since PPP was formed, she has been casting her vote in support of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and now Bilawal Bhutto.

Reporters Samar Abbas and Bilal Ahmad  

Categories : Pakistan