Violence claimed two lives in Hazara division while a woman died of cardiac arrest at a polling station in Mansehra during the second phase of local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday.
Though polling remained largely peaceful in 18 districts, where the electrical exercise was held, incidents of clashes and violence were reported in Abbottabad, Torghar and South Waziristan districts.
A scuffle occurred at a women’s polling station in Bagh Dara area of Abbottabad district leaving a man dead and four injured.
Two groups clashed over the casting of votes in Dore Mera area of Torghar district killing a man.
The incident occurred at the Government Primary School, where the polling agent of a candidate attacked a voter, Jalawan Umradian, with a chair. The voter suffered serious head injuries and died on way to a nearby health centre.
A letter written by the administration to Hazara division’s commissioner revealed the arrest of the attacker and the launch of an investigation after the suspension of polling.
Also, a woman suffocated inside a polling station of Ghandian area in Mansehra district.
Amraizan Bibi fell unconscious and was taken to a nearby hospital, where the doctors pronounced her dead. They said cardiac arrest caused the death.
In Shawal area of South Waziristan tribal district, armed men kidnapped staff members and police guards from a polling station and took away ballot boxes.
Violence was also reported in Azam Warsak area, where supporters of candidates set fire to ballot boxes. Polling remained briefly suspended in a polling station of district headquarters Wana.
Angry protesters threw stones at the vehicle of relief minister Iqbal Wazir, while supporters of the PTI and other candidates clashed in Shewa area. However, no damage to public life was reported.
Polling was temporarily suspended at polling stations in some other areas over scuffles and heated exchanges among workers of political parties.
Overall, elections were held peacefully in Mansehra, Torghar, Kolai-Palas, Upper and Lower Kohistan districts, where more than 13,000 police personnel were deployed in and outside polling stations to maintain law and order.
A large number of women exercised their right to vote in Hazara division, including the conservative Kolai-Palas district. A high turnout of voters was reported at more than 60 per cent polling stations, especially those established for women.
There were complaints of slow polling in parts of Lower Dir district, especially Talash and Balambat areas, due to the shortage of polling staff and ballot papers.
Voting took place at 21 polling stations established in Jamra area of Kohat district for persons displaced from tribal districts. The people exercised their right to vote peacefully at 25 polling stations in Bannu district.
In Swat district, a minor clash was reported between the supporters of ANP and PTI in Kabal tehsil, while independent candidates had heated exchanges in Kota area of Barikot tehsil.
A firing incident occurred among independent candidates at a women’s polling station in Kuza Garai area of Bahrain tehsil. However, no one suffered injuries.
Women didn’t case vote in Swegalai area of Kabal tehsil.
Polling remained largely peaceful in Lower and Upper Chitral and Upper Dir districts.
In Battagram, local government elections were conducted peacefully. The voter turnout was low. In some areas, women didn’t cast vote.
The residents complained that the shortage of polling staff caused slow polling forcing people, especially women, to leave polling station without casting vote.
Meanwhile, a few people thrashed staff at the Imam Serai polling station in Tikri area over ‘slow voting’.
According to presiding officer Abdullah Khan, the Imam Serai polling station was established for both male and female voters.
At 05:30pm, some voters attacked the polling staff, who left the polling material inside the polling station to save their lives.
Election officer in Battagram tehsil Junaid Saeed told Dawn that he was closely monitoring situation at the polling station.
Voters participated in elections in Orakzai and Kurram tribal districts without interruption. They included a large number of women.
The polling began at around 8am and continued until 5pm without interval.