The period for electioneering in the third phase of local government elections is scheduled to end tonight, with candidates for the seats of chairman, vice chairman, and councilors making last ditch efforts to garner the public support.
Electioneering was in full swing in the Punjab and Sindh provinces for the third phase of LB elections scheduled to be held on Saturday (Dec 5) in the country’s commercial hub Karachi and in 12 districts of Punjab province.
According to reports, candidates were working untiringly and holding door-to-door canvassing and corner meetings to gather public support.
Polling will be held in 12 districts of Punjab with final phase including Layyah, Rajanpur, DG Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rawalpindi, Jhang, Khushab, Multan, Sialkot, Narowal, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur. In 16 union councils of Rawalpindi, polls have been delayed on the court’s orders.
Similarly, in Sindh, polling will be held in Karachi West, Karachi East, Karachi South, Karachi Central, Korangi and Malir.
On Wednesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that security duties would be performed by the Rangers and Pakistan Army personnel on polling day across Sindh, including Karachi.
A notification has been issued in this regard, granting to Rangers’ officials the power of first-class magistrates and to make arrests after entering polling stations.
The notification also stated that security officials of the Rangers and Pakistan Army will be allowed to take action under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) if citizens face an interruption in the electoral process.
Meanwhile, more than 94 percent polling stations have been declared sensitive in Karachi for the third phase of the LB elections. Only 234 out of the total of 4,141 polling stations have been declared normal.
According to the ECP, 1,791 polling stations (43pc) have been declared highly sensitive while 2,116 (54pc) are being considered sensitive for the third phase of LB polls. All the polling stations in District Central and Korangi have been declared either sensitive or highly sensitive.
The largest number of highly sensitive polling stations (497) is in District West, with 396 stations declared sensitive out of the total of 937 stations. As many as 859 polling stations were declared sensitive in Karachi’s District Central. The ECP has summoned 20 companies of Pakistan Army to be deployed in the city to assist the election process.
According to an ECP notification, Army and Rangers personnel will be in charge of the law and order and security situation on the polling day, while Rangers personnel will also have powers of First Class Magistrate, giving them powers to enter any polling station and arrest any suspect if the need arises.
Meanwhile, the Special Security Unit (SSU) of the Sindh Police said that 400 police commandos would also be deployed in Karachi on the polling day.