KARACHI/RAWALPINDI/MULTAN: Polling for the third and final phase of local government elections in 12 districts of Punjab and six of Karachi went underway on Saturday amid tight security.
The battle for the Sindh capital will be the one more keenly watched across the country than a contest in any other major city.
Polling began at 7.30am and will continue till 5.30pm.
In the first hour, voting could not be started in almost 70 per cent of polling stations in Karachi. Delay in polling has also been reported in Multan and Jhang.
Almost all the polling stations in the six districts of Karachi have been declared ‘sensitive’ for security reasons, with only 234 of the 4,141 stations categorised as normal.
According to an official of the Election Commission, 1,791 polling stations in Karachi are being treated as highly sensitive, and 2,116 as sensitive, for the sake of maintaining law and order.
In the 12 districts of Punjab, 9,970 of the 14,012 polling stations have been declared ‘normal’. The official said 964 polling stations in the province were highly sensitive and 3,078 sensitive in the districts of Layyah, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rawalpindi, Jhang, Khushab, Multan, Sialkot, Narowal, Rahimyar Khan and Bahawalpur.
The polls in 16 union councils of Rawalpindi have been delayed on court orders.
The Election Commission has established a control room in Islamabad which will work till the finalisation of election results.