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Election duties: staff shortage affects medical services in Karachi

KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to engage doctors and paramedics to perform election duties appears to be taking a heavy toll on medical and health services at different hospitals in Karachi.

The Abbasi Shaheed Hospital is one of the city’s several medical facilities whose staffers have been deputed on poll duties, causing acute shortage of doctors and paramedics at the hospital to run essential services smoothly.

The hospital’s laboratory services remain suspended as no medical test of any sort has been conducted for a month as the staffers have been busy receiving training for their poll duties.

The Medical Superintendent of the hospital complained that it has been facing immense difficulties owing to shortage of the staff.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a total of 1.6 million staff has been deputed for poll duties across the country.

The officers that will render their services on the Election Day include 85,307 presiding officers, 510,356 assistant presiding officers, and 255,178 polling officers.

A total number of 11,855 candidates are running for 849 general seats of National Assembly and four provincial assemblies across the country.

This includes a total of 3,459 candidates — 1,623 from Punjab, 824 from Sindh, 725 from KP and 287 from Balochistan. They will contest for the 272 general seats of the National Assembly. The National Assembly – the lower house of the parliament in the Pakistan’s democratic system, consists of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected, 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 are open to religious minorities.

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