PESHAWAR: With voting for the second phase of local body elections slated to take place in 18 districts today (Thursday), the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday dispatched election material and staff to polling stations.

Over eight million people registered with the ECP are eligible to participate in the electoral exercise as voters. They include 3.56 million women.

The first phase of local body election was held in 17 districts on Dec 19.

Polling for the second phase will take place in Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Torghar, Kohistan Upper, Kohistan Lower, Kolai-Palas, Kohistan, Swat, Malakand, Shangla, Lower and Upper Dir, Upper and Lower Chitral, Kurram, Orakzai and North and South Waziristan districts.

Of total 6,176 polling stations, 3,972 sensitive, says ECP

According to the ECP, elections will be held for mayor and chairman slots in 65 city and tehsil councils and different seats of 1830 village and neighbourhood councils.

A total of 28,020 candidates are in the running. Of them, 651 are contesting for the seats of city and tehsil council mayors and chairmen.

Also, 12,980 candidates are contesting elections for general seats of village and neighbourhood councils, 2,668 for those reserved for women in VCNCs, 6,451 for peasants’, 5,213 for youths’ and 57 for minority ones.

The ECP has set up 6,176 polling stations for elections. Of them, 1246 are for women and 1,164 for men, while 3,766 are combined.

It declared 1,646 polling stations very sensitive and 2,326 sensitive.

According to a statement issued by the ECP, the distribution of election material began at 8am on Wednesday from the offices of the returning officers.

In a related incident, unavailability of ballot papers for Lower Kurram tehsil chairman election was reported during the distribution of election materials.

The returning officer for Sadda area in Lower Kurram district, who is also the assistant commissioner, informed to the district returning officer about the shortage of ballot papers through a letter.

“--- ballot papers have been received, however, during distribution process, a total of 4700 ballot papers for the tehsil chairman (lower Kurram) were found deficient in 27 polling stations,” read the official letter.

It added that in order to avoid any inconvenience during the election day, 4,700 ballot papers may kindly be provided to the office at earliest for onward distribution to the relevant polling stations.

Also, an emergency control room has been set up at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Peshawar for March 30-April 1 to ensure the holding of the second phase of local body elections in a peaceful and smooth manner.

The Chief Minister’s Secretariat issued a notification declaring deputy secretary Muhsin Iqbal will be the focal person and in charge of the control room, according to a statement issued here.

Under the notification, the emergency control room will coordinate all kinds of activities, information and emergencies with the relevant stakeholders, and will being the relevant information into the notice of the chief minister until the finalisation of elections in order to prevent any untoward incident during polls.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2022

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