Over 3.4 million people have exercised their right to vote to elect their local governments in Karachi and Hyderabad after much delay and uncertainty surrounding Sindh’s second round of local government elections.
Voting started at 8 AM and will last until 5 PM. It’s happening in nine districts in the Hyderabad division and seven districts in Karachi.
Elections for the local government proved to be difficult to organize because they required three postponements, legal disputes, and political wrangling before the voting could actually take place.
After casting his ballot, Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman, the president of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi, expressed his gratitude to the police for maintaining the city’s tranquility throughout the election.
Voters are still making up to their various polling centers, despite Rehman’s accusation that some people torched the camps in several locations. “Districts Central and East have not reported any adverse incidents,” he continued.
He asserted that the public favors the election of a JI member as mayor.
The JI president said that the MQM-P has withdrawn from the electoral process in response to its intention to boycott it.
‘Polls being spoiled’
There have been claims of polling delays for various reasons in several places.
Asad Umar, the secretary general of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), responded to the holdup by asserting that some voting places were still without election personnel.
He alleged that efforts are being made to spoil the polls.
Control room up and running
The ECP has established a central control room for three days at the Islamabad Election Commission Secretariat to oversee the LG polls.
As many as 16 complaints have so far been registered in the control room, an ECP spokesperson said. He said that 13 out of 16 complaints have been addressed.
PPP writes to ECP about ‘high-handed tactics’ in Korangi
In the meantime, Senator Taj Haider’s letter to the chief election commissioner today requesting that he look into the use of “high-handed methods” in two polling places in Korangi Town was shared on Twitter by the PPP.
The letter’s subject emphasised the lack of “polling boxes/material” at the polling place at New Age Grammar School while claiming “high-handed techniques” were being employed at polling places 103 at Sun Rise School and 104 at Government Monotechnic.
In order to secure “clean and honest elections,” the senator sought a probe into the aforementioned “irregularities”.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, nearly eight million voters are anticipated to leave their homes to choose their local government representatives from among the 17,863 candidates running for chairman and vice-chairman of the union committee and general members (ECP).
Up to 8,876 voting places have been equipped with CCTV cameras and tight security measures, with 4,997 in the Karachi and 3,879 in the Hyderabad divisions.
- Around 8,153 of the polling stations have been declared ‘sensitive’ or ‘highly sensitive’.
- A total of 830 candidates have been elected unopposed in 16 districts of two divisions, including seven in Karachi, and 823 in the Hyderabad division.
- In Karachi, as many as 3,415 polling stations have been classified as sensitive, 1,496 as highly sensitive and 79 as normal.
- Out of 2,674 polling stations in Hyderabad division, 1,270 are sensitive, 779 are highly sensitive and 625 are normal.
- In Thatta and Sujawal all 1,008 polling stations have been declared sensitive and 185 highly sensitive.
- In Karachi, 2,166 candidates for the seat of Chairman and Vice Chairman and 6,892 candidates for Ward Member are taking part in the election battle.
Meanwhile, a total of 9,078 candidates would be contesting in the second phase of the local government elections in nine districts of the Hyderabad division —Hyderabad, Dadu, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Jamshoro, Thatta, Sujawal and Badin — while 3,451,320 citizens would be exercising their right to vote on Sunday (today), the ECP said.
- Of 9,078 candidates, Hyderabad city topped the chart with 2,477 candidates, followed by 1,948 in Badin district, 1,425 in Dadu, 833 in Jamshoro, 763 in Tando Allahyar, 694 in Matiari and 436 in Tando Mohammad Khan.
- Around 1,522 candidates are contesting for the seats of UC chairman and vice chairman, including 4,482 for general councillors, 1,034 for municipal committee members, 1,019 for town committee members and 1,637 for district council members.