SHANGLA: The electoral candidates in Shangla have linked the low women turnout in NA-10 and PK-23 constituencies to the setting up of combined polling stations and verbal agreements by the locals to bar women from casting ballot.

The losing candidate in NA-10, Awami National Party’s Haji Sadeed ur Rehman told Dawn on Tuesday that majority of polling stations, including the combined, had male polling staff, which resulted in low women turnout.

He said it was the Election Commission of Pakistan’s duty to deploy women polling staff keeping in view the Pakhtun traditions. He said ECP should conduct the re-election on NA-10.

PTI candidate Waqar Ahmed Khan linked the low women turnout to clashes between the ANP and PPP supporters at various polling stations. He said combined polling stations were also an obstacle to women vote and demanded of the ECP to declare the elections null and void as the women turnout was less than the mandatory 10 per cent.

PML-N’s losing candidate in PK-23, Shangla I, Mohammad Rashad Khan said in majority areas women did not turn up for vote as locals had agreed to not allow them to cast ballot.

Meanwhile, the district returning officer issued the final list of the wining candidates on Monday, according to which, PML-N’s Ibadullah bagged the NA-10 seat securing 35,178 votes. PTI’s Shaukat Yousafzai won the PK-23 seat, securing 17,712 votes. ANP’s Faisal Zeb won the PK-24, Shangla-II seat, securing 15,060 votes.

PROTEST: The ANP workers gathered in Alpuri Chowk on Tuesday to protest the returning officer’s refusal to accept an application, demanding vote recount in NA-10.

The ANP activists said their candidate Sadeed ur Rehman had submitted an application for vote recount in the ECP, which had accepted it, but the RO was not willing to recount the votes. They vowed to continue agitating unless their demand was met.

On the occasion, ANP candidate Rehman told Dawn that he would move the high court for seeking justice.

GARBAGE REMOVAL: Traders in Bisham city on Tuesday complained the TMA officials didn’t lift the garbage in front of their shops for last two weeks which had badly affected their businesses.

Talking to reporters, they said TMA staff was nowhere to be seen over the past two weeks and urged the district administration to clean the city roads and bazaars.

“The TMA has failed to acquire land for dumping the garbage,” Naveed Alam, a shopkeeper, lamented, saying their clients were facing difficulties while coming to the shops. He said after the recent rain the footpaths were covered in mud.

Bisham trade union president Hamid ur Rehman said sweepers had disappeared from the city as the TMA was pressuring them to throw garbage out of the city.

Despite repeated attempts the relevant TMA officials could not be contacted to get their version on the matter.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018