QUETTA: Polling for Balochistan’s local government elections has begun and will continue until 5 pm in the evening. The provincial government had earlier declared Saturday as public-holiday and has made extensive security arrangements. Under section 144, pillion riding has been banned in the province till Dec 10. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan had earlier said 18,000 candidates were contesting the elections in 4600 constituencies. Six million ballot papers had been sent to the 32 districts of the province. He also said 33,000 polling staff had been appointed for 5,800 polling stations.
Over 54,000 personnel of the army, Frontier Corps, Balochistan Constabulary, police and Levies Force have been deployed in and around the polling stations and at sensitive points. More than 5,000 army troops are on standby as a quick response force to deal with any untoward situation. Helicopters will be used for surveillance in sensitive areas.