Polls open today for Dera Ismail Khan mayoral seat

Tough contest likely among PTI’s Umar Amin Gandapur, JUI-F’s Kafil Nizami and PPP’s Faisal Karim Kundi

Voting for the election of tehsil mayor in Dera Ismail Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be held today (Sunday). The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had announced the schedule for the second phase of local body elections for which polling will be held on March 31 but before that this important battle is going to take place in Dera Ismail Khan.

Observers say that this constituency has become a matter of ego for political parties as all candidates are trying their best to win the election.

It may be recalled that the election for tehsil mayor was postponed during the first phase of local body polls when Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Umar Khattab Sherani was assassinated a day before polling.

Federal minister Ali Amin Gandapur’s brother Umar Amin Gandapur is contesting the election on the ticket of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Earlier this week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had declared Umar Amin Gandapur eligible to contest elections while turning down the decision of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has fielded former deputy speaker Faisal Karim Kundi for the slot of mayor while Kafil Nizami is contesting election on the ticket of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).

Apart from this, by-polls will be held in 13 districts of the province today for 97 village and neighborhood councils.

According to the Provincial Election Commission, security personnel, including police, Pakistan Army and FC troops, have been deployed so that voters could cast their ballot without any fear.

Some 710,472 are eligible to cast their vote. As many as 739 polling booths have been set up at 237 polling stations.

Following the announcement of new schedule for local body elections in seven districts of Hazra division, political activities have once again gained momentum and a large number of candidates received nomination papers from their respective election commission offices.

As many as 41 candidates, including those nominated by various political parties and independents, received nomination papers for three tehsils of Torghar district.

Similarly, 38 candidates received nomination papers for Havelian tehsil chairmanship.

The final list of the candidates participating in the polls and the electoral signs will be displayed on March 2 and 4, respectively.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak on Saturday chaired a meeting to discuss party’s organizational structure and review preparations for the second phase of local government elections.

PTI KP Secretary Information Zahir Shah Toru said that the meeting discussed the party’s organizational structure and elections-related matters in remaining 18 districts of the province.

He said that it was decided to appoint district coordinators as soon as possible. He added that a list of tehsil candidates in the districts where elections are going to be held should be submitted to the party’s secretariat at the earliest.

Zahir Shah Toru said that the meeting decided to start a campaign for the local government elections along with party workers. He said it has been decided to appoint tehsil-level coordinators in all districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.