LAHORE - A massive clampdown on firearms helped police ensure peaceful polling across Lahore where no casualty was reported yesterday.

At least 800 vandals were put under house-arrest late Friday night in Lahore where police launched a full-scale operation and detained several hundred “troublemakers” as well.

Earlier, the police department had prepared a list of some 1500 troublemakers and the cops began midnight raids to arrest the elements who were marked as a security risk for voters on the day of polling.

At least seven persons were arrested immediately as they were found carrying weapons near polling stations in different parts of the metropolis. A chairman and a vice-chairman candidate of the PTI for UC-234 were also among those arrested for violating ban on the display of firearms.

Police arrested three bodyguards of PTI leader Chaudhry Sarwar who were carrying automatic weapons during his visit to a polling station in Islampura. However, they were released by the police after a strong warning, officials said. But the police seized the firearms.

Six separate cases were registered against the violators in Lahore.

Capital City Police Officer Muhammad Amin Wains told The Nation that his department, during its special campaign, seized more than 500 firearms including Kalashnikovs, rifles, guns, pistols, and bullets. He said the police anti-firearms operation, launched three days before the polls, made the polling peaceful. “The credit (of peaceful polling) goes to my officers and Jawans who were put on their toes since Monday,” Amin Wains said.

Eight hundred “troublemakers” were set free by police late yesterday night. “All the 800 vandals put under house-arrest last night, are being released as poll ends peacefully and successfully in Lahore,” said a spokesman for the Lahore police. The official further confirmed that the Lahore police arrested seven armed persons as they tried to move towards the polling stations.

Overall in Punjab, the process of Local Bodies elections was observed almost peaceful in all the 12 districts except a few incidents of fatal shooting. Armed clashes between opponents left two persons dead and five injured in Okara and Faisalabad districts.

Political violence marred polling in Sindh’s Sukkur district where at least 11 people were killed yesterday during crossfire as clashes broke out between two political groups in Ranipur Town, Khairpur. Ten persons were killed and 30 others wounded during clashes between rival groups during LB polls held in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in May.

Lahore police yesterday took “unprecedented” security measures to control violence during the Local Bodies’ polls. Apart from massive deployment, police launched “special operations” to tighten its screws on vandals and troublemakers. Paramilitary troops were also seen patrolling on the roads in the sensitive areas of the Punjab capital.

Hundreds of police commandoes riding on gun-fitted vehicles and heavy-bikes held flag-marches in different parts of Lahore to improve a sensitive a security among the citizens.

At least 160 special squads of Elite Police and Quick Response Force were deployed on the important roads of the metropolis to maintain law and order.

A spokeswoman for the Punjab police yesterday night said more than 100,000 cops were deployed on security duties at 16,326 polling stations of 12 districts of the province.

“Throughout the Punjab province, at least 116 persons were arrested for violating the code of conduct devised by the Election Commission of Pakistan,” she said. “Out of the total 116 violators at least 42 belonged to the PML-N, 30 to PTI, 19 to PPP, and 25 independent candidates.”