PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced special monitoring teams to ensure free and fair polls in 23 districts of the province where by-elections for different local government seats were scheduled for Sunday (today).

A statement issued here said that these teams would keep a check on all the poll-related matters. Teams formed to monitor the polling process in Haripur, Abbotabad, Swabi, Mansehera and Mardan will be headed by deputy director Shaukat Hussain, Waqas Ahmed Malik, Mohammad Ali Qadir, Fazlur Rehman and Yasir Aziz, respectively.

Assistant director Mohammad Irfan will head the Peshawar team, regional election commissioner Pir Maqbool Ahmed will monitor polls in Charsadda, while director management information system Haider Ali will be responsible for Nowshera.

Similar teams have also been formed in other districts. The statement said that the monitoring teams would keep a constant contact with the control room established at the provincial election commission.

In Swabi, arrangements have been completed for holding the LG by-elections on Sunday (today).

The ECP officials said that in Swabi the by-polls would be held in Bamkhel north and south, Kalabat-I, and Sheikh Jana-I and Karnal Sher Kallay (East). They said that elections were to be held on 74 seats for women, 42 for men and some seats for the minorities.

In Kohat, a tough contest is expected between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl candidates in the LG by-elections for the seats of district and tehsil councils. Three candidates are in the arena from Sumari Bala, five from Bahadar Kot and six from Urban-VI. Similarly, three candidates are in the run from Sherkot, three from Kamalkhel and two each for as many seats, including one for women, from Boraka.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2016