The first phase of local government (LG) elections is going on in 32 districts of Balochistan on Sunday.

According to the Election Commission of Balochistan (ECB), polling is being held in remote and sensitive areas, adding that 5,226 polling stations have been set up.

The registered number of candidates is 16,195, including 132 women. The total number of voters in 32 districts is more than 3.5 million.

Voting materials were distributed from the returning officers’ offices and polling began at 8 am.

Earlier, while addressing a press conference in Quetta, Balochistan government spokesperson Farah Azeem Shah said that local body elections are being held in Balochistan after 2013.

She also stated that the delimitation matter of Quetta and Lasbela was being resolved.

It may be noted that except for Quetta and Lasbella, and some areas of Zhob and Pishin, LG elections are being held across the province.

The ECP had delayed the elections in the above-mentioned areas because of flaws in the delimitations and delays in the formation of wards for councillors.

Farah said that funds of Rs4.3 million have been released for the election process and that print, electronic and social media are being used to spread awareness about local body elections.

“We hope to get as many people to participate [in voting] as possible,” she added.

She stated that preparations had been made to deal with emergency situations in all districts and that security will also be provided to all the candidates.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had declared more than 2,000 polling stations sensitive and the provincial government has enhanced security to avert any untoward incident during polling.

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