The counting of votes in local government elections across 17 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is underway after the close of polling time at 5pm.
Polling in the 17 districts today, including Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshehra, Mardan, and Peshawar, marked the first phase of the local body polls, with the next phase to take place at a later date.
Strict security arrangements have been made, with a total of 79,479 police and other law enforcement agencies’ personnel deployed in the districts where the ballot took place.
DIK mayoral elections postponed
Voting for the election of Dera Ismail Khan mayor city council was deferred after ANP’s candidate Mohammad Umar Khattab was shot dead on Saturday.
Following the incident, the security in DIK and nearby districts was enhanced.
Baka Khel polls halted
Furthermore, the polling process in Baka Khel tehsil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bannu district was halted after disruption in the law and order there.
A statement issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that the new date for polling in Baka Khel will be announced later.
Leader of the Opposition in KP Assembly Akram Khan Durrani had levelled allegations against a provincial minister of PTI of storming into five polling stations in Baka Khel and taking the polling staff hostage.
Durrani, while speaking to Geo News, claimed that provincial minister Shah Muhammad Khan abducted the polling staff of five polling stations and took the polling material with them.
He said that the abducted polling staff members are “kept at a petrol pump”.
Durrani also accused Khan of opening fire on the police. He said that the relevant deputy commissioner and district police officer have been informed about the matter but the administration seems helpless in this regard.
The ECP’s spokesperson said that KP’s chief election commissioner has formed a special committee to probe the matter.
The three-member committee, comprising Secretary Zafar Iqbal, General Law Additional Khurram Shehzad and KP Election Director Khushal Zada, will present its report after investigation in seven days.
The polls in numbers
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 12.66 million voter are registered across the 17 districts, with 7.015 million male voters and 5.653 million female voters.
As many as 37,752 candidates are in the run for different categories in the first phase of the polls. Among these, 689 are in the run to lead the city and tehsil councils while 19,285 candidates are in the run for the slot of general councilors, chairman in village and neighbourhood councils.
Of the others, 3,905 candidates are flexing their muscles for the seats for women councilors, 7,513 for peasant councilors, 6,081 for youth councilors and 282 for minority councilors.
As per reports, 876 women councilors have already been elected unopposed in different village and neighborhood councils across the province.
A large number of minority councilors have also been elected unopposed.
A total of 9,223 polling stations and 28,892 polling booths have been set up for today’s elections.
Of these, 2,507 polling stations have been declared most sensitive, 4,188 sensitive, while 528 have been categorized as normal.
Meanwhile, 860 polling stations have been designated as sensitive, 165 as most sensitive, and 224 as normal in the provincial capital.
Around 11,000 policemen and personnel of other forces have been deployed for security during polls in Peshawar alone.
An official said that in addition to the police, Frontier Constabulary personnel would be deployed in over 200 most sensitive polling stations in the provincial capital. Deployment to all the polling stations has been completed.
Besides the Ababeel squad, rapid response force and other forces will also remain alert to rush in case of any mishap in an area. The cops have been directed not to allow brandishing of weapons, aerial firing or creating any law and order.
Inspector-General of Police Moazzam Jah Ansari chaired a meeting on the security arrangements for the polls on Saturday and directed the officers to ensure foolproof security.
For the first time, cops from the erstwhile tribal areas have also been deployed in different districts of the province for election security duty.
Today marks the first time that LG polls are being held in districts of erstwhile Fata.