Violence-marred local government polls leave 9 dead across K-P

Published: May 30, 2015
Email
A voter in Charsadda shows a torn ballot paper. PHOTO: SAMEER RAZIQ/EXPRESS

A voter in Charsadda shows a torn ballot paper. PHOTO: SAMEER RAZIQ/EXPRESS

A voter in Charsadda shows a torn ballot paper. PHOTO: SAMEER RAZIQ/EXPRESS Eleven thousand two hundred polling stations were set up, more than 13 million registered voters casted votes. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: Polling in the violence-marred local government elections came to a close at 5pm on Saturday across polling stations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. As many as nine people were killed and over 30 had been injured during clashes in the province.

Held after 10 years, the polls started at 8am, and even though strict security measures were taken, the polling process was delayed severely as people took too long to vote, sources revealed.

In several areas of the province particularly from districts of Lower Dir, Swat and southern parts of the province, women were either held back by a local consensus among candidates or are not being allowed to vote.

The day was met with several conflicts as clashes between Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers broke out and three people were injured when unknown persons aerial fired outside the Government High School No 4 in Kakshal.

Further, several people throughout the province complained about not being able to vote until later during the day.

The K-P Election Commission had directed political parties and independent candidates to strictly abide by the code of conduct for the polls on election day. Aspirants were also requested on Friday to abstain from further campaigning.

Local government elections in K-P were contested by 84,420 candidates for 41,762 seats. Each voter had the opportunity to cast seven different ballots; the ECP directed officials to ensure proper discipline in the stations to avoid any confusion. The aim was to conduct polls in a peaceful manner to allow everyone to exercise their right to vote.

According to the ECP’s data, there were also 3,339 seats for minorities in K-P, but only 349 candidates are contesting. Moreover, there were a total of 503 neighbourhood and 2,836 village councils for which the election would be held on a non-party basis, while polls on the district and tehsil level would be party-based.

Zardari wants LG election rigging probed

Former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari condemned what he alleged was large scale rigging and manipulation in the local body elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday and called for a thorough investigation into the matter and re-polling in areas where large-scale malpractices had been reported.

According to a statement, Zardari said that the people of Pakistan had witnessed how Imran Khan, who held the nation hostage over allegations of rigging in 2013 general election, had himself resorted to worst form rigging in the LB polls through Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.

He added that Khattak’s true intent had manifested itself in the arrest former provincial minister and PPP leader Liaquat Shabab just three days before polls. Zardari demanded Shahbad’s and Prof Ubaidur Rehman’s immediate release.

Zardari’s spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted the former president as directing the provincial chapter of the Party to protest the rigging and take appropriate measures to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

He added that it was a shame that the provincial Ehtsab commission had also been used as a political tool to manipulate the local government elections.

Unofficial results

Unofficial results from 140 district councils, out of the total 978 councils, show that the PTI is in the lead with 38 seats, followed by the JUI-F with 26.

The ANP has so far secured 16 seats, the PPP 12, PML-N eight and the JI two. Independent candidates have secured 29 seats for far.

Nine killed during election-related violence

Chaos, mismanagement and violence marred local government polls in K-P which saw at least nine people killed and more than 32 injured in election-related violence across the province, reports our correspondent Iftikhar Firdous.

Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) district council candidate in Ameerabad, Tangi, Afzal Khan, was killed. ANP’s Youth Council candidate Alam Zeb Khan was also injured in a firing incident, reported our correspondent Mureeb Mohmand.

In addition to the QWP candidate’s murder, at least six people were killed in Charsadda. According to police, a man was gunned down in a brawl in Sherpao area while two others were injured.

In Tarnab area of Charsadda, two brothers belonging to the QWP were gunned down. Two more people were killed in Mandani area of the district in separate gun related incidents.

Police arrested the Charsadda general secretary for Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) Mufti Gauhar Ali for allegedly causing disruption in the voting process.

Police also booked at least 58 people in Mardan, Charsadda and Swabi, registering cases against them.

Kohat witnessed a man being killed, as election-related violence spread.

In Dera Ismael Khan, two people were killed and two others were injured in Ganju area.

Moreover, in Mirza Dher, police had to intervene as armed assailants tried to abduct a woman presiding officer. While the assailants escaped, police lodged a case on the complaint of the presiding officer.

In Rashakai near Mardan, workers of QWP and PTI quarreled with each other and damaged ballot boxes.

In Peshawar, at least 47 people were arrested from 16 different places of the metropolis. According to Rescue 1122, around 32 people had been injured in various incidents of election-related violence in the district.

In MC-2 Shabqadar, a police constable was found using illegals means of favouring a political party.

Also, ANP district workers restrained the female polling staff from working, for what they claimed, was rigging by them aimed at increasing the PTI vote count.

In Battagram, political workers brawled with rivals for most of the day. In Union Council MC-3, Gonda, a worker of Jamaat-e-Islami allegedly assaulted PTI MPA Arif Ahmad Zai over rigging in a polling station designated for women.

In Attaki, PTI workers were accused of breaking the ballot boxes.
In MC-1, there were reports of some people ‘selling’ their votes to different political parties.

FIRs registered

Authorities have registered 16 FIRs against those who had held policemen and polling staff hostage in Peshawar, our correspondent Riaz Ahmed reports.

Talking to The Express Tribune SSP Operation Dr Mian Saeed said they had registered FIRs against those who were involved in violence and taking officials hostage.

He added that they had arrested as many as 45 people from arrested across Peshawar district. These people were currently being questioned.

ECP responsible for poll mismanagement

Commenting on the large number of violent incidents during the polls, K-P CM Pervez Khattak said maintaining law and order on this occasion was not his, but the Election Commission’s responsibility.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak casting his vote in the elections. PHOTO: EXPRESS

“Today, I could not issue directives to police directly; the law enforcement agency is working under the Election Commission”, he was reported as saying.

Polling ends

Retaliation

A candidate’s daughter in Peshawar retaliates against police officers when she was being escorted out of the polling station.

Bogus votes

In Peshawar’s Government Primary School Sugar Mills polling station, five forged votes have been found, Express News reports.

Young supporters

Eleven-year-old Hussain walked for miles to reach Kohati Gate to support PTI.

PHOTO: RIAZ AHMAD/EXPRESS

‘Not a single vote cast till 11am at Chowk Nasir Khan’

A voter, Rifat Rehana, claims not a single vote had been cast till 11am at Edward School, Kohati Gate female polling station for neighbourhood council 46, Chowk Nasir Khan.

She alleges the presiding officers were supporting PTI candidates by not allowing any other voters who support opposition candidates, our correspondent Riaz Ahmed reports.

PHOTO: RIAZ AHMED/ EXPRESS

 

Waiting to vote

PHOTO: MUREEB MOHMAND/EXPRESS

Workers quarrel, polling comes to a halt in DI Khan

In Union Council Luchra of DI Khan, PTI and PML-N workers quarreled with each other in the women’s polling station.

As a result, polling came to a halt at the station as they accused each other of rigging.

PHOTO: MUREEB MOHMAND/EXPRESS

Further, in Paharour, there is no government staff present at the female polling station.

Gul Bela polling station. PHOTO: SOHAIL KHATTAK/EXPRESS


Meanwhile in Tank

In the five polling stations of Union Council Sarangzona of Tank, the election is under way peacefully, but no woman has cast a vote so far.

“It is not because of Jirga or religious clerics ban but usually here the women are not coming to vote, a local elder, Zoman Mehsud,” told The Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, in Kari Umar Khan of Tank, a scuffle broke out between voters and police, in which two police personnel received minor injuries. As a result, the female polling station (Tata women polling station) was closed and army was called to take control.

Public shows interest in voting

Compared to the May 2013 General Elections, more public has shown interest in casting their votes today. Long queues and flocks of people are gathering outside polling stations to cast their vote. The polling process, however is unfortunately slow, our correspondent Sohail Khattak reports.

PHOTO: MUREEB MOHMAND/EXPRESS

Polling agents are blaming the ECP staff for the slow process, while staff continues to complain about voters creating unnecessary rush inside the polling stations.

Polling suspended at CEC’s native village

Polling could not start at Namili Maira polling station, the native village of Chief Election Commissioner Justice R Muhammad Raza Khan, as the election symbols of two contestants were not printed on the ballot papers, a candidate and officials on duty at the polling station told our correspondent Muhammad Sadaqat.

Missing election symbols

Reports reveal that polling has been halted since the last three hours in Sikandarpura, Peshawar, due to missing election symbols of some of the candidates from ballot papers; our correspondent Baseer Qalandar reports.

At least three injured, extra contingents of police and army called in

At least three people have been injured as unknown people opened fire outside Government High School No 4, Kakshal during polling.

“Unknown men opened fire and fled the area leaving three people injured who have been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH),” police say.

PHOTO: SOHAIL KHATTAK/EXPRESS

Extra contingents of police and army were called to take control of the polling station.

Polling remains suspended till the filling of this report in the nearby Govt Girls Primary School where a female polling station has been established.

“We are investigating the matter but it seems that the supporters of one candidate opened fire,” police say, adding that “It is premature to jump to a conclusion and that the situation was now under control.”

ECP takes notice

Election Commission of Pakistan takes notice of women being barred from voting at different polling stations according to Express News.

PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IRFAN/EXPRESS

Minor injured in aerial firing

Our correspondent Mahwish Qayyum reports that a minor has been injured in aerial firing at Government Higher Secondary School Kakshal in Peshawar.

Army deployed

The Army has been deployed at Abbottabad polling station number 458. As the situation is being brought under control, polling resumes in the area, Express News reports.

Polling is expected to continue till 5pm today amid tight security.

Polling also resumes at  Primary School Nasapa, Peshawar, where Army personnel are present and overlooking voting.

Lack of election staff

The absence or lack of election staff has been another problem that the electoral process is facing.

PHOTO: SOHAIL KHATTAK/EXPRESS

The number of votes cast in rural areas is comparatively less because either the election staff is unaware of the procedures or no staff was available, our correspondent Iftikhar Firdous reports.

Women not allowed to vote

In several areas of the province particularly from districts of Lower Dir, Swat and southern parts of the province, women were either held back by a local consensus among candidates or are not being allowed to vote.

Polling station shut down, ballot box missing

Locals and all candidates from the area have forcibly shut down Government High School Passani polling station for women after reports emerged of women ripping up ballot papers. Candidates say one ballot box has also gone missing.

Ballot papers torn, Army personnel present

Our reporter Umer Farooq reports that police have been called in to Girls High School Passani, a polling station for women only.

Men can be seen inside the polling station while women activists, suspected to be from ANP, are going inside and ripping ballot papers while presiding and assistant presiding officers watch helplessly.

Mattani SHO Sardar Khan has been called and says he is sending a police contingent while army personnel can be seen in the Charsadda area, on routine patrol.

No women in sight

Presiding officer Nosheen Habib tells The Express Tribune that locals, especially women, did not show up to vote this morning.

Despite security measures and facilities provided to the people of Kabal, Swat an officer on duty at Girls Primary School Abbakhel says she has been sitting alone with the staff.

PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IRFAN/EXPRESS

“No women have come to vote as yet, I don’t know why they have not come,” she says.

Aerial firing

Two women are reportedly injured in aerial firing at Primary School Nasapa by political workers. Police have arrived to bring the situation under control, Express News reports.

Police takes charge

Police baton charge Awami National Party workers in the Bakhshu pool area on Charsada road. Polling has been closed for alleged rigging, our corresondent Sohail Khattak reports.

PHOTO: SOHAIL KHATTAK

Supporters clash

ANP and PTI supporters clash outside a polling station, set up for women, in Shahabuddin Din Girls High School. Polling has been suspended and women are unable to cast their votes.

AN EXPRESS NEWS SCREENGRAB

Further reports emerge of women being forced to vote at certain polling stations in Peshawar.

Women voting 

Our correspondent Umer Farooq reports that women can be seen voting even at sensitive polling stations in Passani, Mattani and Adezai.

Election Commission to take action

“The election commission will take action against political parties and candidates if they campaign or violate the code of conduct on polling day,” Election Commission of Pakistan K-P Public Relations Officer Sohail Ahmad told The Express Tribune.

PTI supporter Noman in Shabqadar. PHOTO: MUREEB MOHMAND/EXPRESS

People taking too long to vote

Asif Khan, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporter outside a polling station at FG Colony Hassan Garhi told The Express Tribune that people are taking a long time to vote.

PHOTO: MUREEB MOHMAND

“You have to show them what symbol on ballot paper they have to stamp,” he said. “They can see and recognise among the numerous symbols on seven different ballot papers,” he added.

Untimely voting

Although strict security and measures were taken for the elections, it is taking one voter over five minutes to vote, sources revealed.

Polling commences

Polling commences at 8am Saturday morning.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (14)

  • hamza
    May 30, 2015 - 3:33PM

    the election commision of pakistan which is a federal institution show how inefficient it is in arranging LB elections
    shame on PML-N :pRecommend

  • Tiddi Pehalwan
    May 30, 2015 - 3:56PM

    KPK Local Body Elections are a resounding slap on the corrupt

    faces of NawaZardari party rule in Punjab and sinned

    where these thugs have deprived people of their

    basic government rights for eight years nowRecommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 30, 2015 - 8:15PM

    @hamza: Staff of election commission are only clerks. To administer elections is responsibility of provincial government. Shame on PTI’s KP government which cannot hold free and fair election in a very small part of the country. Recommend

  • KP Polls?
    May 30, 2015 - 8:32PM

    KP Govt. and Election Commission is failed in conducting transparent, disciplined and fair election. The arrangement is/was the worst and the whole election is/was not fair, peaceful and transparent. Both Govt. and Election Commission has failed. Recommend

  • Blithe
    May 30, 2015 - 10:07PM

    What a shambles PTI is for kpk!!!
    But then when a party espouses violence on D chowk , why would it not use violence in kpk .

    This is not the time for Pti trolls are defending the indefensible – if it were up to Imran Niazi, cricket stadia would be confined to his non sensical dharnas

    This guy will stoop to any level to bring Pakistan down Recommend

  • MAS
    May 30, 2015 - 10:22PM

    @hamza:
    Only an illiterate can blame Pmln for election violence in kpk , where law and order is a provincial subject . Recommend

  • Azi
    May 30, 2015 - 11:45PM

    Before the mind slaves of NS and Zardari come to defend their kings and point at IK, know that these elections were again a responsibility of ECP which had control of police and army stationed there.

    If you judge whole parties based on a few bad eggs then you should also hold your self responsible for directly being involved in axact scandal, silly isnt it? Thought so.Recommend

  • Malik
    May 31, 2015 - 1:13AM

    This country has gone to the dogs Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 31, 2015 - 2:00AM

    If these are PTI’s ethical and governing standards, then people of Pakistan should never hand over administration of their provinces to this party ever.Recommend

  • Ranjha
    May 31, 2015 - 3:01AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:

    Typical darbari tripe. Shame on third generation darbaris!Recommend

  • May 31, 2015 - 4:08AM

    Look at the name of the parties involved in violence, these same old parties who are still unable to see that Pakistan is changed.Recommend

  • May 31, 2015 - 8:21AM

    in the day of election, law enforcing agencies run in command of ec. moreover, all the suggestion made by pti were rejected by ec. pti govt tried to make a control room to monitor the situation. but ec disband that room too. and then they fail miserably. the election had more candidates than national election. yet ec didn’t ask for help from army. so this situation was inevitable. yet out of 11,000 polling station only 34 had serious problem. the deaths were mainly caused by angry candidates with licensed arm. so govt couldn’t do much. everyone is shouting but this province is in the frontline of war on terror. yet it accomplished local election and that too quite peacefully. bigger than metro bus in my eye. Recommend

  • raider
    May 31, 2015 - 9:37AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    who is inciting violence, peep into situation and note anarchists, where was police in Punjab when lawlessness in juhana-bad was prevailing without any govt, where was Punjab govt when operation at model town was underway as they claim that higher authorities were clueless even near their home, how many peoples killed by pti, this death toll is even recorded in one district in Punjab previously during local body elections, teach peoples Democratic culture instead of blaming police in election process, i will not blame Punjab police if any thing happen during election if police looks fair instead of tilt toward any party, if police interfere more then provincial govt is blamed to be influencing election process, it is the responsibility of election commission to use police when required not provincial govt on that particular day, because provincial govt also contests election. Recommend

  • shahzad khan
    Jun 3, 2015 - 1:43AM

    These were the worst ever elections i have seen .. candidates were pulling voters to poll for them inside stations . Fake votes were casted when election staff were not even checking NIC of voters . Anarchy, mismanagement, and massive rigging . Imran khan if u donot want to see ur political carrier finished then dissolve everything namely lc elections ….. in my whole life these were the worst elections i have witnessedRecommend

More in K-P