PESHAWAR (APP/Web Desk) – Amid clashes at several places, polling for the largest local government (LG) elections in the history of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is underway across the province on Saturday in which over 84,000 candidates are contesting for 41,000 seats in the three tiers of local councils.
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Over 13 million registered voters in the province comprise 7,494,000 male voters and 5,638,000 female voters.
At least one man was killed and three other were injured as unknown people opened fire outside Government High School No 4, Kakshal during polling.
“Unknown men opened fire and fled the area leaving three people injured who have been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH),” police say.
Extra contingents of police and army were called to take control of the polling station.
Women could not cast their votes in today’s LG polls in Shangla district after a local Jirga barred them from voting.
Election Commission of Pakistan also took notice of women being barred from voting at different polling stations.
Situation also got tensed at Bhana Marri and Shaheen polling stations where unidentified people tried to caste vote illegally. Local media showed footage of men and women stamping ballot papers inside the polling stations, on which the people got infuriated. A police official was also caught by the locals after found casting a vote on fake ID.
PRESIDING OFFICER SUSPENDED
A female presiding officer in a polling station in Kohat was suspended after she allegedly allowed the casting of multiple votes for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) during the ongoing by-polls.
After female voters reported the presiding officer, assistant commissioner Kohat Ali Asghar suspended the presiding officer and her duties were allotted to assistant presiding officer Sanjida Bibi.
According to election commission, there are 84,420 candidates in the fray for 41,762 seats. Around 11,200 polling stations have been set up across the province. Of them, 2,837 have been declared highly sensitive.
Stringent security arrangements have been made for the elections. Funds to the tune of Rs.350 million have been issued to police. Rs100 million has been apportioned for expenditures of petrol and vehicles. Rs.20 million has been assigned for the people who will function during the polls on daily wages.
For the election process, KPK Ministry of Education announced holiday on May 29 and 30 in education institutions.
A little over four years after the Awami National Party-led coalition government dissolved the local bodies in the erstwhile North-West Frontier Province, more than 13.1 million people will exercise their right of vote in the LG polls today.
Each voter will cast seven votes in the local body polls, for which 72.2 million ballot papers have been printed.
Ballots papers for the district council general seats are orange, grey for tehsil councils and white for village councils. Similarly, the ballot papers for women seats are pink, light green for peasants, yellow for youth and brown for minorities.
Of the 11,211 polling stations, 3,428 are for men, 3,059 for women and 4,724 combined.
The elections will not take place in Kohistan as the district’s bifurcation has been challenged in the Peshawar High Court.
The highest number of 1,003 polling stations has been established in Peshawar, including 518 for men, 439 for women and 46 combined.
Similarly, 11,403 presiding officers, 95,646 assistant presiding officers and 31,882 polling officers have been deputed at polling stations across the province.
According to the ECP, 88,420 candidates are in the running for the elections.
Of them, 77,033 are contesting for village and neighbourhood councils, including 39,079 for general seats, 15,700 for peasants, 14,224 for youths, 7,681 for women and 349 for non-Muslims.
Similarly, 5,480 candidates are contesting for the general seats of district councils and 5907 for tehsil councils.
The last provincial government had dissolved local councils on February 20, 2010 after the completion of their tenure. Afterwards, administrators replaced nazims of those bodies.
The last local government elections took place in February 2005.