Holding sticks and bags, plain-clothes policemen arrived at a station from the interior areas of Sindh to perform duties in the local government elections; and a convoy of Rangers’ vehicles passes on Nishtar Road during a ‘flag march’ on Saturday.—APP/ Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Holding sticks and bags, plain-clothes policemen arrived at a station from the interior areas of Sindh to perform duties in the local government elections; and a convoy of Rangers’ vehicles passes on Nishtar Road during a ‘flag march’ on Saturday.—APP/ Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI/HYDERABAD: All see­m­ed set late night for the second phase of local government elections in 16 districts of the province on Sunday (today) when 8,045,475 voters would have long-awaited opportunity to elect their local government representatives from among 17,863 candidates contesting for chairman and vice-chairman of the union committee and general members.

As many as 8,876 polling stations — 4,997 in Karachi and 3,879 in Hyderabad divisions — have been set up with CCTV cameras, where strict security arrangement have been made.

Around 8,153 of the polling stations have been declared ‘sensitive’ or ‘highly sensitive’.

A total of 830 candidates have been elected unopposed in 16 districts of two divisions, including seven in Karachi, 823 in Hyderabad division.

The number of candidates who died before the local government elections has reached 49.

17,863 candidates are vying for chairmen, vice-chairmen and general members’ seats in 16 districts

In Karachi, as many as 3,415 polling stations have been classified as sensitive, 1,496 as highly sensitive and 79 as normal.

Out of 2,674 polling stations in Hyde­rabad division, 1,270 are sensitive, 779 are highly sensitive and 625 are normal.

In Thatta and Sujawal all 1,008 polling stations have been declared sensitive and 185 highly sensitive.

In Karachi, 2,166 candidates for the seat of Chairman and Vice Chairman and 6,892 candidates for Ward Member are taking part in the election battle.

Electoral camps were set up near the polling stations on behalf of various political parties on Saturday, which were also used for the election campaign. After the decision to hold the polls, the provincial election commission and the district administration became active and the process of delivery of election materials was completed on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, a total of 9,078 candidates would be contesting in the second phase of the local government elections in nine districts of the Hyderabad division —Hyde­rabad, Dadu, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Jamshoro, Thatta, Sujawal and Badin — while 3,451,320 citizens would be exercising their right to vote on Sunday (today), according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Of 9,078 candidates, Hyderabad city topped the chart with 2,477 candidates, followed by 1,948 in Badin district, 1,425 in Dadu, 833 in Jamshoro, 763 in Tando Allahyar, 694 in Matiari and 436 in Tando Mohammad Khan.

Around 1,522 candidates are contesting for the seats of UC chairman and vice chairman, including 4,482 for general councillors, 1,034 for municipal committee members, 1,019 for town committee members and 1,637 for district council members.

Over 63,000 policemen to perform poll duty

Police and Rangers have prepared ‘foolproof’ security arrangements for second phase of Sindh local government elections scheduled to be held in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions/ranges on Sunday (today) as none of the polling stations we considered normal, according to officials.

“Over 43,605 policemen would perform security duty for LG polls in Karachi division,” according to a police spokesperson.

In the Hyderabad division, the police sources said that total 19,536 policemen would be deployed at the polling stations to maintain law and order.

Separately, a Pakistan Rangers spokesperson said that they have finalised security steps for ensuring peaceful local government polls not only in Karachi but Hyderabad as well.

The paramilitary force personnel along with police have conducted flag march in Karachi and Hyderabad on Saturday.

Besides, in order to maintain law and order, both the Rangers and police have carried out search and combing operations in various areas, arrested several criminal persons and recovered arms and ammunition from their custody.

The Rangers spokesperson said that a quick response force of 700 Rangers personnel will also be deployed in different areas of Karachi to handle any untoward incident.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2023

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