KARACHI (Staff Report) – The third and final phase of local government elections in six districts of Sindh is is final phase of polling. The polling process which started at 7:30 am will continue till 5:30 pm without any break.
Political rivals came face-to-face in several areas of Karachi on Saturday as polling is underway in the port city for the third phase of the local bodies elections.
Clashes, scuffles and electoral irregularities were reported from different parts of the city as citizens exercised their right to franchise to elect local government representatives.
Voters in the Malir district are protesting due to lack of polling staff. Voters have been standing in long queues waiting to cast their votes, however, many are now leaving without casting their votes.
They complained shortage of polling staff including presiding officer and assistant presiding officer.
Union councils have seen only a 20 to 30 per cent turn out due to lack of security measures.
Unknown men torched two motorbikes in Landhi No 1 area, completely destroying the vehicles. Video footage also showed a white vehicle, the glass windows of which appeared to have been smashed by arsonists.
The condition was said to be critical in Landhi before additional contingents of Rangers and police personnel were called in to the area.
DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar visited different areas of Landhi and inspected the security situation.
Female voters and supporters also came face-to-face during polling in parts of Lyari and Orangi Town areas of the city.
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In Orangi Town’s UC 28, two people were injured in a minor scuffle during polling. Both men were shifted to a hospital. Fake polling staff arrested Rangers arrested a fake presiding officer and his three accomplices in Soldier Bazar area and sent them to jail for three months. The man were trying to enter polling station with fake ID card of presiding officer. He belonged to a political party. In Gulshan-i-Iqbal’s Union Council (UC) 29, police were forced to resort to aerial firing when rival political workers scuffled over accusations of fake votes being cast at the polling station. Security arrangements A force of 35,057 policemen and 7,400 Rangers is providing security to polling stations in Karachi. The Sindh government, in consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), had decided to deploy a strong force police personnel and Rangers at all the 4,037 polling stations of the metropolis, of which 1,714 have been declared as most sensitive and 1,329 as sensitive. The inspector general of Sindh police, Ghulam Hyder Jamali, while briefing the Sindh Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah at CM House on Friday said: “There are three categories of force deployment such as static, mobile and motorcycle patrolling and the reserve platoons.” He claimed that deployment of force has been made on the basis of assessment of law and order situation and sensitivity of polling stations as per their history. “Rangers will be assisting police in ensuring a secure environment,” he added. The Sindh police chief said that Pakistan Army was also deploying 10 companies, each company has a force of 80 personnel. The Sindh chief minister directed the IG to ensure proper security during the polling and till the counting and transferring of votes. “Some times serious incidents happen during the counting process, therefore security must be provided throughout the day,” the chief minister said. There are 23 union councils and 213 union committees, where election for the seat of chairmen and vice chairmen is underway.
The number of general seats for union council is 922 while for union committee the number of general seats comes to 852.
12 political parties including PPP, PML-N, MQM-A, PTI, Sunni Tehrik, JUI-F, Jamat-e-Islami, JUI-P, ANP, PML-F, MQM-H, Qaumi Awami Tahreek and a large number of independent candidates are contesting election.