MUZAFFARABAD:After 31 years, local government elections began on Sunday in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
The local body polls will be conducted in three phases across the state due to the non-provision of additional security personnel from the federal government.
According to Express News, the first phase of polling will begin today in the Muzaffarabad division from 8 am to 5 pm without any break.
Phase two of the LG polls will be conducted in the Poonch division on December 3 and phase three in the Mirpur division on December 8.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in the first phase, polls are being held in three districts of the Muzaffarabad division today.
Earlier, preparations for the elections were completed in Muzaffarabad, Neelam and Jhelum Valley districts.
The ECP secretary said that 4,500 men from the Azad Kashmir Police will perform security duties in the Muzaffarabad division.
A total of 2,716 candidates are competing in the Muzaffarabad division,
The 695,049 voters from the Muzaffarabad division will elect 595 councilors through vote slips.
There are 411,072 voters in the Muzaffarabad district, 154,832 in the Jhelum valley district and 129,145 in the Neelum valley
Among the political parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has issued the most tickets to its candidates at 575, while the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is in second place with 545 and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in third with 465.
There are also 900 independent candidates trying their luck in the local body elections.
According to the electoral watchdog sources, 1,314 polling stations and 1,884 polling booths have been set up for local body elections in the Muzaffarabad division.
There are 6,966 officials including presiding officers and polling officers performing election duties.
Despite the severe cold weather, the LG election is expected to be longer than the general election.
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