QUETTA - Preparations for the local government (LG) elections which are scheduled to be held on December 7, are in final phase across Balochistan and the final electoral list of candidates will be issued on Nov 19.

This was disclosed at a meeting chaired by Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, held to review the preparations of LG polls in the province here on Wednesday. Provincial election commissioner, secretary home and secretary local government briefed the meeting about preparations and steps taken to maintain law and order during the polls.

Election commissioner said following the issuance of final electoral list the printing of ballet papers would start while the polling material was ready to be dispatched to polling stations.

Meeting was informed that delimitation of all constituencies had been completed in all districts, including that of provincial capital with collaboration of political parties.

“There are 32,78,164 voters in the province and the number of wards is 7,189.

As per rules and regulations of LG polls each ward has the status of constituency.”

Meeting was briefed that there were one metropolitan corporation, four municipal corporations, 53 municipal committees, 32 district councils and 643 union councils in the province and the polling scheme for the polls would be completed within two days.

The meeting was informed that district returning officers, returning officers and assistant returning officers had been appointed while polling staff would soon be appointed.

Maintenance of law and order during the polls was also thoroughly discussed and challenges in this regard were completely reviewed. It was decided that Frontier Corps, police and Levies Force would be tasked to maintain law and order during the poll. “A collective plan for safely transporting electoral material would be devised by home department, district administration and election commission”.

The meeting expressed satisfaction that under the orders of Supreme Court, Balochistan was the only province of the country which was all set for holding LG polls on fixed schedule apart from approving and implementing LG Polls Amendment Act. It was reiterated in the meeting that conduct of peaceful and transparent elections in the province would be a model for other provinces.

The meeting also reviewed the situation of Khuzdar where electoral record and documents were torched and election commission, local government department and district administrations were directed to come up with recommendations to improve the situation and remove all other obstacles in the way of holding polls.

Addressing the meeting, chief secretary said all steps would be taken to hold peaceful and impartial LG polls in the province as per schedule.

He directed that with cooperation of deputy commissioners comprehensive record of each sensitive district be prepared and keeping in view the ground realities polling stations should be given status of normal, sensitive and highly sensitive so that effective measures could be taken for maintaining peace. “Small and ordinary challenges and threats should not be ignored,” chief secretary directed.

He also directed that in order to finalise security measures for maintenance of peace and appointment of security personnel during LG polls be held on Nov 18.

Provincial Home Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti, provincial election commissioner, IG Police, secretaries of S&GAD, local government, interior, finance, law, DIG Frontier Corps and representative of Pak Army attended the meeting.