Counting of votes underway in violence-marred Sindh local govt elections

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The vote counting process in the first phase of local bodies elections in Sindh is currently underway after polling marred by violence — including aerial firing, scuffles and deaths — came to an end at 5pm on Sunday.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said voters at polling stations, where the voting process was suspended, will be given time equivalent to the period of disruption in the polling process. The polls were held in the province’s 14 districts.

Two people, including the brother of a PTI candidate, died in poll-related violence while at least a dozen others were injured.

The 14 districts of four divisions — Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas — include Ghotki, Sukkur, Khairpur, Larkana, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Naushahro Feroze, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Umarkot and Tharparkar.

Voting will take place in Hyderabad division — part of lower Sindh — along with provincial metropolis Karachi in the second phase on July 24. Hyderabad division has nine districts.

Given the grass-roots nature of the elections, such scuffles are usually anticipated. The 2015 local government polls were not free of violence, which were especially evident in districts Khairpur and Sanghar.