SHABQADAR/ CHITRAL/ HANGU/ UPPER DIR/ MARDAN: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is bracing itself for local government by-elections and people will vote in their representatives on Sunday (today) to fill vacant seats.
By-elections for 16 vacant village and neighbourhood council seats will be held in Mardan. These include eight general councillor seats, five for women, one youth, one labour and one minority seat.
According the returning officer, by-elections will be held in Parhoti neighbourhood council-I for one seat. The competition will be between two candidates, whereas six will compete for one general councillor seat of Garhi Ismailzai.
Two candidates will also go head to head for one minority seat in Baricham-I. Meanwhile, there are two in the running for a Bijlighar-II general councillor seat, five candidates for the Katakhat seat and four candidates will compete for the labour seat in Barekaab.
In Taja, there are two candidates for women and youth seats, whereas six will be vying for general councillor seats in the area. Meanwhile, there are two candidates for the women’s seat in Rustam-I and two candidates for general councillor seats in Rustam-II. Also, two candidates will take each other on for the women’s seat in Nodeha. In Rehmatabad, four candidates will compete for the women’s seat and three candidates will battle it out for the general councillor seat.
Finally, four candidates are in the running for the general councillor seat for Khurki-II village council.
In Shabqadar, by-election for Battagram UC and Gonda Shabqadar village council will take place. There are 28,183 registered voters on the UC level and 4,921 for the village council.
Returning officer Tariq Hassan said 18 polling stations had been established on the UC and village council level. He added security would be the responsibility of the police, while the army could be used as a quick response force. Among these 18 polling stations, 14 were deemed sensitive while four were declared sensitive.
The Battagram UC seat was vacated by tehsil nazim Zafar Ali khan of QWP. The party’s new candidate Zakaullah and he will go up against JUI-F’s M Tahir Darwish. In Gonda village council, JI and PTI will contest for the general councillor seat.
Hangu and Chitral
In Hangu, by-elections will take place in eight village councils for 10 seats across the district. Three polling stations were arranged in Hangu tehsil and 15 in Tal tehsil. The candidates are contesting for seven general councillor seats and three women’s seats.
Security arrangements were made and Section 144 was imposed for three days. Hangu DC and District Returning Officer Ehsanullah briefed the media and said police personnel would be on duty at polling stations. In Chitral, by-elections will take place in four areas of Chitral district including Balach, Parabaig, Janjariat and Marap on Sunday.
In Upper Dir, the by-elections will be held on one district council seat and two women seats in the village council. For the by-elections day, 12 polling stations have been declared sensitive while seven are said to be highly-sensitive. The election will be a tough competition between candidates from Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Peoples Party. At least 9,444 registered voters, including 5,483 men and 3,961 women, will take part in the polls. Around 11 polling stations and 28 voting booths were arranged for both men and women. Seven general councillor seats and three women’s will be filled after these elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2016.
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