The much-awaited second phase of local government elections in Sindh is underway in 16 districts today (Sunday), including Karachi and Hyderabad.
Voting started at 8 am and will continue till 5 pm. Television reports indicated attendance was low amid single-digit morning temperatures. Attendance improved as the day progressed.
JI wants greater police presence in Karachi
ECP issues notice to Sindh Govt
PPP writes to ECP over ‘irregularities’ in Korangi
Voting was briefly halted in Malir for TLP ballots
The ECP takes note of Sindh government advertisements aired on election day
Hyderabad sees low turnout
ECP says interference and mischief will be dealt with ‘sternly’
MQM-P boycotts the elections
Three hours after the vote, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman spoke to reporters in Karachi, where he expressed satisfaction at the “generally peaceful” security situation.
“I want to appreciate the security forces, but we want the Rapid Reaction Force to show movement,” he said. “They should be active in the population so that people can be sure that the security situation is good.”
He said that in some areas, some polling stations were “burnt by conspiracy as they tried to prevent people from voting”.
“But I want to congratulate the people of Lundy and Labor Square who still came out to vote and gave a proper response to these terrorists.”
Only the public can fight them. If people come out, no one will have the power to stop the process.”
Separately, PPP’s Saeed Ghani cast his vote in UC-8, Chanesar Town, and addressed the media.
PPP’s Saeed Ghani votes on Sunday.—DawnNewsTV
“After the results of local elections in Karachi, PPP will emerge as the largest political party in the city,” Ghani said. “I have been saying for more than a year that the city of Karachi belongs to Bhutto and Inshallah the results of today’s elections will prove it.”
He claimed that the Karachi mayor will be a “PPP jiala” and called on people to come out and vote.
Meanwhile, in a tweet today, PTI chief Imran Khan urged people in Karachi, Hyderabad and Dadu to come out and vote for their representatives.
I urge people in Karachi, Hyderabad and Dadu to come out and vote. Their vote today is essential if they want to change their lives.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 15, 2023
“Their vote today is essential if they want to change their lives,” he added.
Earlier, Sindh Assembly Leader of Opposition Haleem Adil Sheikh visited the PTI camp set up in Sohrab Goth town of Karachi in Eastern District, which falls under UC-2.
The official PTI Karachi Twitter account claimed that “a huge crowd is present in the PTI camp”.
The video showed dozens of people gathered at the camp, while Sheikh — dressed in a red coat — gave an overview of the camp’s activities, saying, “Awesome.”
اپوزیشن لیڈر سندھ @HaleemAdil کا یو سی 2 سہراب گوٹھ ٹاؤن ضلع مشرقی کے کیمپ کا دورہ!!!— PTI Karachi Official (@PTI_KHI) January 15, 2023
عوام کی بڑی تعداد پی ٹی آئی کے کیمپ پر موجود، پولنگ شروع ہوئے صرف ایک گھنٹہ ہوا ہے اور کراچی کی عوام کا موڈ بتا رہا ہے آج صرف بلا چلے گا۔ انشاء اللہ#بلے_پہ_ٹھپہ#کراچی_کپتان_کا pic.twitter.com/hGooG8goma
Voting was briefly disrupted in Karachi’s Malir
Meanwhile, disturbances took place in Bin Qasim constituency in Karachi’s Malir area.
According to Malir Senior Superintendent (SP) Irfan Bahadur, voters complained that the election symbol of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) was missing from the ballot papers.
“Because of this, voting was stopped [at the polling station] for a while,” he told Dawn.com.
Bahadur said voting resumed when new ballot papers were brought to the polling station.
PTI’s Naqvi complains about ballot stamps
صبح سے کوئی بھی عاملہ موجود نہیں پولنگ سٹیشن میں ۔ ایک کمرے میں 5 باکس رکھے ہوئے ہیں۔ کوئی خاتون عملہ موجود نہیں الیکشن کمیشن کی طرف سے۔ پریذائیڈنگ آفیسر کی کوئی ٹریننگ نہیں۔تمام باکس کی سیل کھلی ہے۔الیکشن کمیشن والو شرم سے ڈوپ مارنے کا مقام ہے۔ یہ کام امیدوار کا نہیں ہے۔ pic.twitter.com/hG6XWyHDtA— Firdous Shamim Naqvi (@Fsnaqvi) January 15, 2023
Separately, PTI Sindh MPA Firdous Shamim Naqvi visited a polling station in Karachi and shared videos showing him removing what he claimed were loose seals from polling stations.
He appeared to be complaining about mismanagement and allegedly improper sealing of ballot boxes.
In his tweet, he lamented: “There is no staff in the polling station since morning. There are five ballot boxes kept in a single room. There is no female staff from the electoral commission.”
He further claimed, “The presiding officer has no training. The seals of all ballot boxes are open.” Criticizing the ECP, he said, “This work (ensuring proper election preparation) is not the candidate’s duty.”
The video shared showed Naqvi arguing with a staff member that he was sealing the boxes “incorrectly”, so the staff suggested he seal them properly.
ECP issues notice to Sindh Govt
Later in the day, the election commission issued a notice to the Sindh government to air advertisements on several television channels.
“The advertisements mention various development plans. Running these ads on the day of the local elections (today) is a violation of the code of conduct,” she said in a statement, available on Dawn.com
The electorate also directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to stop the advertisements from airing today.
PPP writes to ECP over ‘high tactics’ in Korangi, Dhobi Ghat polls
کراچی میں انتخابی عمل کے دوران بے ضابطگیاں— Pakistan Peoples Party – PPP (@PPP_Org) January 15, 2023
کورنگی ٹاؤن میں پی پی پی کے انتخابی کیمپوں پر حملے کے بعد پولنگ اسٹیشن 103 اور 104 میں ناقص سیکیورٹی صورت حال کے باعث ووٹرز خوف زدہ
Meanwhile, the official PPP Twitter account shared a letter written by Senator Taj Haider today to the Chief Election Commissioner asking him to investigate “high tactics” being used in two polling stations in Korangi town.
The subject of the letter highlighted the unavailability of “ballot boxes/materials” at New Age Grammar School polling station, while the subject of the letter alleged that “high tactics” were used at polling station 103, Sun Rise School and 104. , Govt. Monotechnic.
The senator requested that the above “irregularities” be investigated in order to ensure “clean and transparent elections”.
The PPP wrote another letter to the ECP saying that polling stations at the Government High School in UC7 of Dobi Ghat, Karachi were not available.
“Your attention is requested to the matter to ensure free and fair elections,” the party added.
Hyderabad sees low turnout
On the other hand, low voter turnout was observed in Hyderabad.
Hyderabad deputy commissioner Fawad Soomro told Dawn.com that polling remained smooth and no complaints were received from any quarter.
However, a “disturbance” was reported at a women’s polling station in Wahdat Colony due to an alleged clash between PPP and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) supporters, he said, adding that polling was currently underway there.
Separately, women in Matiari district came out in “fair numbers” to vote.
MQM is the one outside
Meanwhile, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) announced last night that it will boycott today’s local elections in Karachi and Hyderabad after its repeated demands for changes in the delimitation of constituencies were rejected by the election watchdog.
However, the party — a key government ally at the Center that saw its breakaway factions reunited earlier this week under the MQM-P umbrella — kept its anger confined to the local level and focused on the ECP. Contrary to a threat it issued earlier this week, the party said it would not quit the ruling coalition.
“Interference will be dealt with strictly”
As voting began, the ECP issued a statement by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, calling on the “patriots” of Karachi and Hyderabad to express their “faith in democracy” by participating in the local elections today.
He said that the special secretary and secretary ECP are monitoring the elections from the Sindh District Election Commission office, while a Central Control Room has been set up at the Election Commission Secretariat, which will be active “day and night”.
In case of any complaint, the public should lodge them at the Monitoring and Grievance Center at the office of the Sindh Central and Provincial Election Commissioner in Karachi, he added.
He also issued directions to the ECP, telling the body to ensure that any kind of “interference and disorder” in the election process is “severely dealt with”.
He said, “The Election Commission, the election process and all the institutions to establish law and order will fulfill the trust of the people of Karachi and Hyderabad.”
Over eight million voters are expected to come out of their homes to elect their local government representatives from among 17,863 candidates vying for chairman and vice-chairman of union committee and general members, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
As many as 8,876 polling stations — 4,997 in Karachi and 3,879 in Hyderabad wards — have been set up with CCTV cameras, where tight security arrangements have been taken.
About 8,153 of the polling stations have been declared “sensitive” or “highly sensitive”.
A total of 830 candidates have been elected unopposed in 16 two-division constituencies, including seven in Karachi and 823 in Hyderabad division.
In Karachi, as many as 3,415 polling stations have been classified as sensitive, 1,496 as highly sensitive and 79 as normal.
Of the 2,674 polling stations in Hyderabad division, 1,270 are sensitive, 779 are highly sensitive and 625 are normal.
In Thatta and Sujawal all 1,008 constituencies have been declared sensitive and 185 ultra sensitive.
In Karachi, 2,166 candidates for the office of President and Vice President and 6,892 candidates for Department Member are participating in the electoral battle.
Meanwhile, a total of 9,078 candidates will contest the second phase of the local body elections in nine districts of Hyderabad division — Hyderabad, Dadu, Tado Muhammad Khan, Tado Alakhyar, Matiari, Jamsoro, Thatta, Sujawal and Badin — while 3,451, the citizens will exercise their right to vote on Sunday (today), the ECP said.
Out of 9,078 candidates, Hyderabad city topped with 2,477 candidates, followed by 1,948 in Badin district, 1,425 in Dadu, 833 in Jamshoro, 763 in Tando Allahyar, 694 in Matiari and 436 in Tando Mohammad Khan.
About 1,522 candidates are vying for the positions of UC president and vice president, including 4,482 for general counsel, 1,034 for city committee members, 1,019 for city committee members and 1,637 for district council members.
Over 63,000 police officers to perform poll duties
Police and Rangers have prepared “inconspicuous” security arrangements for the second phase of Sindh local government elections scheduled to be held in Karachi and Hyderabad districts/districts on Sunday as none of the polling stations were considered regular, they said officials at Dawn.
“More than 43,605 policemen would perform security duties for the LG polls in Karachi division,” according to a police spokesperson.
In Hyderabad division, the police sources said that a total of 19,536 policemen will be deployed in the polling stations to maintain law and order.
Separately, a Pakistan Rangers spokesman said they have finalized security steps to ensure peaceful local government elections not only in Karachi but also in Hyderabad.
Besides, to maintain law and order, both Rangers and police have conducted search and combing operations in various areas and arrested several criminals and recovered arms and ammunition from their custody.
The Rangers spokesperson said a quick response force of 700 Rangers personnel will also be deployed in different areas of Karachi to handle any untoward incident.