PESHAWAR: Polling for a National Assembly vacant seat from Kurram tribal district will be held today (Sunday) with all 143 polling stations already declared sensitive by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The ECP handed over election material to the presiding officers in Kurram district and transported it to the respective polling stations in the NA-45 constituency on Saturday amid strict security measures.
Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan is among a total of 16 candidates for the by-election.
Mr Imran will face a candidate jointly fielded by the Pakistan Democratic Movement member parties, a Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan nominee and 13 independents, including the covering candidate for the PTI chief.
ECP declares all 143 polling stations sensitive
The PDM has fielded Jamiat Ulema-Islam-Fazl leader Jamil Khan, whereas other candidates include Sher Mohammad Khan of the JI, former MNA Fakhar Zaman, who had vacated the seat and is now covering candidate for Mr Imran, and independent candidates Mohammad Zahir Shah, Sarfaraz Khan, Abdul Khaliq, Shah Nawaz Khan, Khalilur Rehman, Abdul Qadir, Mohammad Shoaib, Sadiq Khan, Jahanzeb, Niaz Badshah, Eidgul Mengal and Saifullah Khan.
Voters in the constituency total 198,618 voters, including 111,349 men and 87,269 women.
According to the ECP, 143 polling stations have been set up and 119 of them are the most sensitive and 24 sensitive.
The polling stations include 26 each for male and female voters respectively, whereas 91 are combined. A total of 359 polling booths have been established with 190 for men and the rest for women.
Polling will begin at 8am and continue until 5pm amid tight security with the voters present inside polling stations at the closing time to get permission to cast vote.
The personnel of police, Frontier Corps and Pakistan Army would perform security duty.
The ECP assigned powers of the first class magistrate from Oct 29 through Oct 31 to the designated officers of the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps for peaceful and smooth holding of polls.
The officers will exercise powers of magistrate in respect of offences mentioned in Section 171 (capturing of a polling station or a polling booth) of the Elections Act, 2017.
The security personnel of Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps are deployed for the “quick response force mode and as the second and third tier respondents, respectively.”
While performing security duties, they will first report to the concerned presiding officer any irregularity or malpractice they observe outside a polling station and act according to the instructions issued by him in that regard.
According to a news release of the ECP, the police will provide security to all presiding officers and remain with the polling staff until the conclusion of polling.
The ECP also issued directives to the presiding officers to take clear pictures of Form 45 showing the votes counted at their respective polling stations and send the same to the returning officer through WhatsApp in presence of polling agents of the candidates.
“In case of the unavailability of Internet service, the presiding officers have been asked to reach the office of the returning officer and provide the original Form 45 to him. They have also been asked to keep their cellular phones locations on. The returning officer has also set up a control room which will function from starting of the polling process till compilation of the initial result,” it said.
NA-45 Kurram was one of the four National Assembly constituencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where polling for by-elections were scheduled to be held on Oct 16, but the ECP first postponed it and later fixed it for Oct 30.
In other three constituencies of NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda and NA-31 Peshawar, former prime minister and chief of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan had emerged successful.
Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2022