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July 20, 2019

First-ever provincial polls in merged districts today

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July 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finalised all necessary arrangements to hold the first ever elections on 16 provincial assembly seats of erstwhile Fata today (Saturday).

Addressing a joint press conference, Additional Directional General Elections Sharifullah and Director General Elections Nadeem Qasim said that three-tier security arrangements have been made to enable the voters to exercise their right of franchise in a secure environment.

Sharifullah said that the Election Commission had completed training of election staff and their deployment in these areas. He said that all relevant polling material had been sealed in election bags, which would be handed over to the presiding officers as per distribution plan. This material would be further dispatched to the polling stations with complete security. He said that a total of registered voters inthese areas are 2,801,834, out of which 1,671,305 voters are male, while 1,130,529 are female voters.

Sharifullah said the ECP has appointed eight district returning officers, 36 assistant returning offices and 1,897 presiding officers. He said that total 282 candidates are contesting elections on 16 provincial assembly seats. He added that 28 candidates were contesting elections on seats reserved for women and non-Muslims including 22 on women seats and six on non-Muslim seats. He said that the ECP has set up 1,897 polling stations out of which 482 are for men, 376 for women and 1,039 are combined.

Nadeem Qasim said that Army troops would be deployed outside all 1,897 polling stations, and inside and outside all 554 highly sensitive polling stations. He said that to encourage female voters to cast their votes more conveniently, female security staff would be deployed at all female polling stations and female booths of all combined polling stations. He said that the ECP had already directed the provincial government for installation of CCTV cameras at all booths of 1,897 polling stations and in this regard, standard operating procedures (SOPs) have also been issued to all concerned quarters. He said that a complaint centre had been established in ECP secretariat Islamabad as well as in the ECP office Peshawar.

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