Polling ends in Sindh LG elections, counting of votes in progress
Deadly violence, mismanagement eclipse LB elections in Sindh; PTI candidate’s brother killed in Sanghar; Incidents of poll violence reported in many areas of province including Nawabshah, Kandkot, Tangwani, Sukkur, Qambar Shahdadkot, Gutki and Thal where several people injured in firing incidents, clashes; Poll staff kidnapped, election material stolen from many polling stations; Journalists tortured in Kot Diji
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Polling was held in Jacobabad, Qambar, Shahdad Kot, Shikarpur, Larkana, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Ghotki, Khairpur, Shikarpur, Nowshero Feroze, Shaheed Benazir Abad, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Umerkot and Tharparkar.
Incidents of violence, torture and clashes in the local governments’ elections are reported in many areas of Sindh including Nawabshah, Kandhkot, Tangwani, Sukkur, Qambar, Shahdadkot, Ghotki and Thal.
During the poll clashes at different polling stations in the said districts, several people were injured in firing incidents while some polling staff were kidnapped and election material stolen from the many polling stations.
At some polling stations, the process of vote casting was halted for a time being on this, the provincial ruling Pakistan People Party (PPP) Senator Taj Haider has appealed to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to extend the polling time for two hours.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur Rehman Group (JUI-F) spokesman Aslam Ghori has alleged the opponent for torturing their candidates and workers while the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) did not play its due neutral role in the polls.
Earlier today, a political activist was killed and scores injured as the voting in the first phase of the local government elections in Sindh on Sunday was marred by violence, attacks on polling stations, clashes, and abduction of election staff, mismanagement and polling suspensions, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Brother of PTI candidate Zafar Gandapuri at Tando Adam’s Municipal Ward number 13 in Sanghar was killed when clashes broke out between the PTI and PPP workers at a polling station. The clash also left several people wounded.
Seven people were wounded in clashes between two groups at the Hashim Khaskheli polling station in Sanghar.
Polling for the first phase of local government elections in Sindh is underway which started at 8am and will continue till 5pm without any break in 14 districts of the province including Sukkur, Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana, Mirpur Khas, Umarkot, Tharparkar, Sanghar, Naushehro Feroze, Kanbar-ShahdadKot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kahmor, Ghoki and Khairpur.
But as soon as the balloting started, reports of violence also started trickling.
Assailants make polling staff hostage, run away with election material
Some unknown assailants attacked three polling stations in Nawabshah and made the polling staff hostage over there.
After making the election staff hostage, the unknown attackers made off with ballot papers, ballot boxes, stamps and other election material.
The balloting could not be started as yet in Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto, Nawaz Ali and Social Security polling stations in Union 8 in Nawabshah.
On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf activists alleged that the attack was launched because the ECP rejected the form of PPP chairman.
Mobile phones in polling station
In another incident, the PTI workers violated the election code when they used their mobile phones inside a polling station in Nawabshah.
They took photos of ballot papers and uploaded them on social media. Candidates requested the ECP to take notice of this violation.
Besides this, health workers kept on harassing women voters at Ward 9 polling station in Umarkot asking them to cast votes in favor of their candidate.
TLP disrupts balloting in Nawabshah
The activists of Tehreek-i-Labbaik (TLP) have disrupted polling in UC 6 Ward No 1, Nadir Shah dispensary in Nawabshah while raising objection on allotting wrong election symbol during the polls.
They objected to the allotment of another election symbol i.e. Queen to the TLP chairman and vice chairmanship contenders other than TLP’s official election symbol of ‘Crane’.
The TLP supporters after halting election process, raised slogans against the ECP for allotting wrong symbol.
Clash erupts between PPP, JUI supporters in Kandkot
According to reports, a clash broke out between the activists of Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam during the polling in Ward No 10 of Kandkot.
Supporters of both the parties beat their opponents with clubs. Several people got injured during the fight and the election staff halted the balloting.
Polling staff kidnapped in Kandkot
Meanwhile, some armed people kidnapped the poll staff from polling station Tori in UC Daddr in Kandkot.
The armed men opened fire and snatched election staff including presiding officer. They also took away ballot boxes with them.
24NewsHD got video footage of the incident. It could be seen in the footage that armed men were kidnapping the staff.
The administration called in a heavy contingent of police and Rangers. But so far, the election staff could not recovered.
There was a sense of fear in the atmosphere of Tori polling station.
According to reports, the polling staff was allegedly kidnapped by Bhio gang. The polling process has not started yet.
Polling suspended in Tangwani
Firing incident was reported at Imam Bakhsh Bajarni polling station in Selhyani, Tangwani.
The exchange of fire between the rivals was so intense that the ECP had to suspend the polling at Imam Bakhsh Bajarni polling station.
Besides this, balloting at Rasool Bakhsh polling station in UC Dunya Pur and Hamza Ogahi polling station was halted due to a clash between PPP and JUI.
Earlier, people in village Rasool Bakhsh in Tangwani broke open the gate of polling station No 8 and entered the booth. Police tried to stop them but they failed.
JUI worker wounded in Sukkur violence
The polling process was halted in polling station of Farid Mehr in Sukkur following a scuffle between two rival groups.
An activist of the JUI was injured in the fight and was shifted to a local hospital.
The JUI leader Muhammad Saleh accused the SHO of the area of violence, adding that people who came from outside, they attacked our workers.
Polling halted at two polling stations in Qambar Shahdadkot
The election commission stopped polling at two polling stations in Qambar Shahdadkot following reports of mismanagement and theft of election material.
The balloting was halted in Naseerabad’s UC Damrah 46 and City Ward 12 when the ECP received reports of theft of voters’ lists and wrong election symbol allotment to the candidates, respectively.
The residents of UC Damrah 46 protested against the theft of voters’ lists.
A large number of police contingent reached the polling stations to avert any untoward incident.
In another incident of violence, 8 people were hurt during a scuffle between the supporters of PPP and an independent candidate at Hazara Wah polling station in UC No 50, tehsil Shahdadkot in Qambar district.
The fight broke out on the issue of casting vote.
After the incident, the additional force of police and Rangers reached the spot.
The balloting process remained suspended for some time but later it was resumed.
Separately, the PPP and JUI supporters also clashed at Junaid Sangha polling station in UC Aabri, Qambar.
After getting information, police and Rangers officials rushed to the spot and controlled the situation.
Police arrested JUI candidate Saddam Sangha and took him to Qambar city police station.
13 hurt in firing incident in Ghutki
Thirteen people got injured in a firing incident in Abal Garhi polling station in UC Dangro, Ghutki.
The balloting was halted after a scuffle broke out between the supporters of PPP and GDA in the polling station.
The incensed PPP workers broke windows of the car of GDA contestant.
The injured were shifted to a local hospital for medical treatment.
However, a large force of police reached the place and controlled the situation.
Later, the balloting was resumed.
PPP, JUI contenders among 10 injured in Thal poll clash
Meanwhile, 10 people including two contestants were injured in a fight in Thal.
Reportedly, supporters of PPP and JUI were indulged in a clash in a polling station in Thal. They used batons and clubs to beat each other up. As many as 10 people including PPP contender Attaullah and JUI contestant Wali Muhammad got hurt.
The polling station was shut down after the clash and police contingent was called in.
As many as 9,290 polling stations have been set up in 14 districts. The total number of registered voters is over 11.4 million and the election commission has printed 2,950,000 ballot papers for the first phase of the LG polls.
Strict security arrangements have been made in order to maintain law and order. Government has deployed over 40,000 policemen across polling stations in the province while Sindh Rangers are also on standby.
Pakistan Army officials have also been deployed at sensitive areas including Shikarpur, Garhi Yaseen and Town Chuk.
Carrying any kind of weapons is also prohibited under Section 144.
In many districts, candidates have been elected unopposed.
On the whole, peaceful balloting is going on in Khairpur, Tharparkur, Thal, and Shikarpur.
Journalists tortured in Kot Diji
A number of journalists were beaten by election candidates and their supporters in Kot Diji for filming the disturbances at a polling station.
The policemen present on the occasion acted as mere spectators as cameras and mobile phone of the journalists were snatched at Gul Muhammad Soomro Polling Station.
A journalist fainted and fell on the ground due to the torture.
PPP, PTI supporters scuffle in Tharparker
A brawl broke out between supporters of PPP and PTI at Bachho Bhoot polling station in UC Kloi, Thrparkar.
The supporters of PTI and former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim’s son Arbab Anayatullah fought with each in front of police. Due to their scuffle, the voters got scared and ran away.
According to reports, several activists including Arbab Anayat got injured during the fight.
Ballot papers stolen in Umarkot
The voting was suspended for an hour in Municipal Committee Umarkot’s Ward No 11 after the theft of 1300 ballot papers.
In a dramatic move, the stolen ballots were recovered from the possession of PTI chief agent.
However, the PTI agent returned the ballot papers after an action by the administration.
DRO Tahir Memon said that his team recovered 1300 papers from Narayan Malhi, adding that further investigation was underway.
Two inured in Noshero Feroz
Two people got injured during a poll brawl at Jaman Shah polling station in Noshero Feroz.
The election staff halted the polling at the station and sent the wounded to Pind Eden hospital.
By-Election in PK-7 Swat
The polling time has also ended in PK-7 Swat constituency of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly and the counting of votes has been started at the polling stations.
Reporters: Haider Khanzada, Muhammad Ramzan Mirani, Ikhlaq Chandio, Yasir Kinrai, Zafarullah Bhutto, Reporter GR Junejo, Ameen Duplai, Sheharyar Jokhio and Saleem Mirani