LG polls in Karachi, Hyderabad: Counting of votes underway
The polling for the much-awaited second phase of local government (LG) polls in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions ended at 5pm.
Only the voters inside the polling stations were allowed to vote.
The election process overall remained peaceful with few instances of clashes.
This is the second phase of Sindh’s LG polls which was being held in seven districts of Karachi and nine districts of the Hyderabad division, with over 3.4 million people exercising their right to vote to elect local representatives.
Notably, 830 candidates in 16 districts have already been elected unopposed.
Despite the cold weather and reports of missing staff at polling stations in Karachi, the second phase of local government polls began at 8am and continued till 5pm.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had requested that the voting time be extended until 7pm.
PTI Secretary General Asad Umar alleged that efforts were being made to sabotage the polls, with some polling stations lacking staff.
In this regard, ECP spokesperson announced that voting time would only be extended at polling stations where the process started with a delay.
Despite a slow start to voter turnout, momentum picked up as the day progressed.
Seven election camps set on fire in Karachi during LG polls
Election Commission directed the Sindh government to make fool-proof arrangements for the peaceful conduct of the LG polls.
Meanwhile, unidentified miscreants set seven election camps of different political parties on fire in different areas of the provincial capital.
The camps were set on fire in Korangi and Malir areas and the camps and equipment were turned into ashes.
Korangi SSP said the investigation was underway to trace the suspects behind the incident.
At least eight unidentified men broke into a polling station of Union Committee 2 of Gulberg area in Karachi and smashed the ballot box.
They also assaulted the presiding officer and fled.
The security personnel reached the site following the incident. Police said the suspects would be traced through CCTV footage.
The members of two opposing groups charged at each other with sticks at a polling station in New Saeedabad in Matiari. Several people were injured in the incident.
The polling process was temporarily held but was resumed when the police controlled the situation.
MQM-P boycotts Sindh’s LG polls
Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) early on Sunday announced to boycott the second phase of local government elections in major urban areas of the province in ‘protest’ against the attitude of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
However, the party clarified that this was not a boycott or protest against the coalition government.
The boycott was announced by leaders of the MQM-P, including Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, flanked by Dr Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Kamal, Faisal Sabzwari and other leaders upon their return from a late night meeting at the Sindh Governor House with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
ECP established a central control room to oversee LG polls
The ECP has established a central control room at Election Commission Secretariat in Islamabad to oversee the LG polls.
Several complaints received by the control room have been addressed while redressal of some was underway, Quratul Ain Fatima, ECP spokesperson said.