PESHAWAR - Owing to large number of candidates at the level of each village council and neighbourhood council in the upcoming local bodies’ polls, the presence of polling agents for each candidate may hamper the counting process at every polling station and may lead to skirmishes and clashes among rival parties.

The total number of seats for general councillor is 23,111 in 25 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while the number of contesting candidates are 39,079 and a large number of seats of youth, minority and peasant will further add to the strength of the contesting candidates at each polling station.

The huge rush of polling agents in a single room will create problems for the presiding officers and election staff. This will not only hamper the counting process at a due course of time but will also lead to skirmishes inside the polling stations.

Commenting on this issue, a spokesman of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Election Commission, Sohail Khan, told that hiring polling agents is a constitutional right of each candidate, however, it will depend upon the space and environment of the polling station as large number of polling agents will definitely increase pressure on polling staff at the time of counting.

Regarding the election material like stationary, stamp paid, and ballot papers, he said that all the material, have been dispatched to concerned Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officers of their respective areas. He said that it is the responsibility of polling agents and presiding officer to keep cordial relationship as per the election code of conduct.

He said that each candidate will hand over an authority letter of their concerned candidate for the slot of polling agent and the polling agent will also provide a copy of national identity and a copy of authority litter for identity purpose.

As per the code of conduct for the local bodies’ polls, no person will provide transport facility for other voters who are not their relatives.

The polling agent will not only cooperate with the presiding officer but will also help in maintaining friendly environment inside the polling station.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa election commission has timely finalized all the arrangements for the election and responsibilities have been assigned to the returning officer and presiding officers of the 24 districts except Kohistan.

KP GOVT TO USE GIS

TECHNOLOGY IN LG POLLS

The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has established Geographical Information System (GIS) cells on pilot basis, which will use GIS technology for managing local government (LG) elections scheduled to be held on May 30, 2015.

The test will be carried out on pilot basis in two districts of KPK that includes Karak and Haripur. This is the first time that district administrations of Haripur and Karak will use GIS technology for elections.

GIS mapping will help in identification of polling stations for village and neighbourhood councils in North and South Karak and Haripur district.

It will also help in giving location of polling stations as well the number of registered voters and staff deployed in each polling station in the respective districts. Route plan of elections campaign will also be managed using GIS technology.

The GIS Cells have also developed multi-faceted GIS layers of education and health service units to help district administrations improve monitoring and planning of key government services.

Encouraged by positive results, the LG&RD (Local Government and Rural Development) department and district administrations (Haripur and Karak) recently formed village and neighbourhood councils on GIS maps to help administration in monitoring and managing planning process of the government for better and evidence based development initiatives.

GIS is an emerging technology worldwide and it can improve governance results at decentralized levels as well as managing elections for enhanced transparency and accountability. Seeds have been sown in pilot districts, i.e. Haripur and Karak.

 Upon assessing benefits of GIS pilot during upcoming local government elections, government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa may adopt GIS technology for entire districts of the province in future.