KARACHI: The first phase of the local government elections in 14 districts from four divisions of Sindh concluded today (Sunday), and the counting of ballots is proceeding, despite allegations of violence and conflicts in some areas.
The polling station opened at 8 a.m. and was open until 5 p.m. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has declared that voting hours would be extended in regions where polling has been halted for various reasons.
Larkana, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Naushehro Feroze, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, and Tharparkar are among Sindh’s 14 districts.
There are at least 21,298 candidates competing for 6,277 seats in 101 town committees, 23 municipal committees, 14 district councils, four municipal corporations, eleven town municipal corporations, and 887 union councils and union committees.
PTI senior leader Ali Haider Zaidi warned that if the situation in the province deteriorated, the Sindh government and the ECP will be held accountable.
Fearing carnage in the democratic process, he said that the PPP campaigned using government machinery, and that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah “violated the ECP’s regulations by organising a public assembly in Larkana.”
“Has the ECP filed notices on Bilawal Bhutto and Murad Ali Shah?” the PTI leader inquired.
It is worth noting that the electoral commission has set up 9,023 polling sites, including 1,895 for women, to serve almost 11 million registered voters.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja was overseeing the election process in the province, according to an ECP official.
Meanwhile, monitoring cells have been created in Islamabad and at the Sindh election commissioner’s office to guarantee transparent elections, according to the spokeswoman.
Furthermore, at least 1,985 voting locations have been designated as very sensitive, and 3,448 as sensitive. Rangers and police have been stationed at 2,980 high-risk voting places around the province. The most crucial voting locations have CCTV cameras installed.