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LG by-poll in Lower Dir: Turnout remains low despite women’s participation

February 21, 2018

TIMERGARA: Though by-election on a total of 19 local government seats in Lower Dir district was held in a peaceful manner, the turnout remained very low women voted in the exercise.

The by-poll was held on two tehsil, 11 general councillor, one peasant councillor and five youth councillors seats in the district. According to the unofficial and unconfirmed results, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) candidate won tehsil Samarbagh seat by securing a total of 322 votes against 62 of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) nominee.

The ANP candidate got only 22 votes. Tehsil Samarbagh is the native constituency of JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq. Likewise, in Shahikhel Talash Union Council, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) emerged triumphant which the political pundits termed an upset. The PPP candidates secured 1,442 votes against 1,228 of the nominee of JI.

The JI candidate Gul Hakim had won the seat in the previous election, which was declared null and void by the Election Commission of Pakistan due to low turnout of women voters. The ECP had declared null and void by-poll in Lower Dir on December 21 as not a single woman had cast her vote.

And some of the losing candidates had filed writ petition in the court with the plea that women were barred from voting after which the ECP ordered re-election on these seats. Local sources said this time around, hundreds of women voters in Shahi Khel Talash, Lajboak and Samarbagh union councils turned up at the polling stations to exercise their right to vote. However, candidates boycotted the re-election in some areas including Baba Gam in Maidan, village council Adoki and union council Sultankhel where the turnout remained zero, the sources added.