Polling gets underway in Lower Dir's PK-95

Close contest expected between JI and ANP for the seat recently vacated by Sirajul Haq upon election as Senator. — AFP/file

PESHAWAR: Polling went underway for the by-election in PK-95 constituency of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Lower Dir district on Thursday.

A close contest is expected between Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Awami National Party (ANP) for the seat recently vacated by JI chief Sirajul Haq upon being elected as a Senator.

The JI has fielded its district chief Izazul Mulk, while ANP allotted ticket to its disgruntled leader Haji Bahadar Khan.

Read: Close contest likely between JI and ANP in PK-95

Both Mulk and Bahadar have been active in politics for quite some time. Bahadar remained member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for two times and had also held the tehsil nazim slot.

Since 1988, JI has won election in the constituency four times and ANP three times.

As many as 33 polling stations have been declared ‘most sensitive’ and 42 ‘sensitive’ in the constituency.

A total of 85 polling stations had been set up. Out of the 266 polling booths set up, 90 have been specified for female voters.

Read: 33 polling stations in PK-95 declared ‘most sensitive’

Officials in the police department had said that about 1,000 police and Dir Levies officials would be deployed on all polling stations. The sources said that special security arrangements would be made for the ‘most sensitive’ polling stations in the constituency.

There are a total of 127,096 registered voters in the constituency, including around 53,000 women.

Also read: Ban on women voters: Fresh elections demanded in 8 KP districts

Reports have emerged that a tribal jirga has barred women from voting at Khazana polling station in Dir. There are around 2,700 registered voters in Khazana area of Lower Dir’s PK-95 constituency out of which around 1,000 are women.

Though female polling staff are present at all polling stations, the overall turnout of women voters had so far remained sparse across the constituency.

Similar reports regarding a ban on woman voters had surfaced in the district and seven others of the province during the 2013 General Elections.

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