Voting is underway in the first phase of the local body election in 17 districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Polling started at 8 am and will continue till 5 pm without a break. Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Khyber, Mohmand, Mardan, Swabi, Kohat, Karak, Hangu, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Haripur, Buner, and Bajaur are 17 districts in the northwestern region where polling is underway.
Polling for Dera Ismael Khan mayor was deferred after ANP candidate Mohammad Umar Khitab was shot dead in an attack on Friday.
Strict security arrangements have been made for polling. Around 80,000 police and other law enforcement agencies personnel have been deployed. Only 11,000 security personnel have been deployed in the provincial capital Peshawar alone.
Around 12.66 million voters are registered across the 17 districts, with 7.01 million male voters and 5.6 million female voters.
A total 9,223 polling stations and 28,892 polling booths have been set up for today’s elections. At least 2,507 polling stations have been declared most sensitive while 4,188 are sensitive.
An official said that in addition to the police, Frontier Constabulary personnel would be deployed in more than 224 most sensitive polling stations in Peshawar.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Moazzam Jah Ansari presided over a meeting to review security arrangements for the polls and directed the officers to ensure fool proof security. Forces have been directed not to allow brandishing of weapons, aerial firing, or creating any law and order.
There are 676 candidates contesting elections for 65 seats of the city mayor and tehsil chairman. Interestingly, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is the only party that has fielded candidates for all the 65 seats.
As many as 37,752 candidates are in the run for different categories in the first phase of the polls. Among these 689 are in the run to lead the city and tehsil councils while 19,285 candidates are in the run for the slot of general councillors, chairman in village and neighbourhood councils.
Besides, 3,905 candidates are flexing their muscles for the seats for women councillors, 7513 for peasant councillors, 6081 for youth councillors and 282 for minority councillors.
As per reports, 876 women councillors have already been elected unopposed in different village and neighbourhood councils across the province. A large number of minority councillors have been elected unopposed.