KARACHI, Aug 3: Member fishermen of the Fishermen Cooperative Society will elect seven directors through secret ballot on Wednesday morning. Polling will start at 8am and continue till evening.

The elections, first of its kind in the history of the FCS, are being held under supervision of the registrar cooperatives. The total number of registered FCS voters was more than 11,000.

The 15-member board of directors of the FCS comprises eight government nominees and seven elected directors to be elected by the fishermen. Of the seven directors, six were bona fide fishermen, while one director to be elected was a non-bona fide fisherman, who would represent boat owners.

Elections were being contested between two groups; One led by Haji Shafi Muhammad Jamote, a former vice-chairman of the society, and the other led by sitting chairman Abuzur Mariwara.

After the allotment of election symbols, candidates started visiting fishermen villages and localities, and held meetings. The Karachi Fish Harbour wears a festive look, with all contesting candidates having set up tents for convenience of their voters.

Shops, restaurants and offices have been decorated with colourful posters depicting election symbols of candidates. Talking to Dawn, the sitting chairman of the FCS, Abuzur Mariwara, said that polling would be held in a peaceful and transparent manner.

The first phase of the newly-constituted board was completed, after the government on Monday nominated its eight directors. Government directors have always commanded a majority in the society's 15-member board of directors.

Of the eight government nominations, were also included present additional chief secretary (planning and development) Ghulam Sarwar Khero and a senior government official Shujat Ali Qarni, a former managing director of the Karachi Fisheries Harbour Authority (KFHA).

It was reliably learnt that Mr Qarni, a reputed government official, having wide experience in fisheries, would be elected as the next chairman of the FCS. The newly government nominated directors, Shahbaz Husain, Syed Sultan Ahmed Zaidi and Haji Ali Muhammad of the Sindh Trawlers Association visited the Karachi Fish Harbour on Tuesday, and met sitting chairman, Abuzur Mariwara.

They exchanged views on matters pertaining to the FCS and the KFHA. The nominated directors also went to the election office to inspect Wednesday's election arrangements.

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