KARACHI, Aug 21: The provincial election commission has said its homework to conduct by-elections on seven vacant general seats in Sindh has been completed and is all set to start polling across the province at 8am on Thursday (today).

The by-elections are being held on seven vacant seats, which includes three national assembly and four provincial assembly seats in Karachi, Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Shikarpur.

“Everything is under control and the entire election apparatus is put in motion smoothly,” said provincial election commissioner Mohammad Tariq Qadri. He told Dawn the required election material, including polling bags, had been handed over to the election staff.

He said the army and paramilitary troops along with police had taken their positions in the polling stations of the respective constituencies.

“The polling staff have been called out on the eve of polling day so that they could find no difficulty in the way of their duty,” he said.

He said the funds for providing food to the election staff had been raised to Rs500 from Rs400.

Mr Qadri said that the commissioned officers of the army, the FC and Rangers had been given magisterial powers along with the presiding officers to launch summary trials when it needed.

However, the army and paramilitary officers were required to seek the consent of presiding officers first. “We have taken every measure to make the polling free and fair,” he said.

Schools in by-polls constituencies closed

The Sindh education department has announced that all government schools located in Karachi’s three districts — East, West and Central — would remain closed on Thursday in connection with by-elections on one national assembly and two provincial assembly constituencies.

However, only those private schools located in the areas in the three constituencies would be closed on Thursday.

Private schools located in the by-election constituencies (NA-254, PS-95 and PS-103) will remain closed on Thursday.

Government and private schools in other areas of the city will remain open as usual on Thursday.

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