LAHORE - More than 50 polling stations in the NA-122 by-elections are likely to face violent clashes on the day of the vote, security agency officials told The Nation yesterday.

They said that 52 polling stations out of 283 have been declared sensitive where extraordinary measures are necessary to avoid bloodshed between PTI and PML-N supporters.

The agencies are alarmed about the bad blood between the two parties and fear there could be a further outbreak of the violence which has claimed two lives in the last year.

A PTI worker Haq Nawaz was killed allegedly by the PML-N activists in Faisalabad during violent clashes on the event of Imran Khan call for shutting down the city to support traders demand to cut the loadshedding in December 2014.

Another Imran worker Abdul Ghaffar Gujjar, who was his candidate for local bodies’ polls in Union Council-124, was also allegedly killed by local PML-N cadres during the election drive in Garhi Shahu police precincts last month.

However the PML-N challenged the PTI allegations and claimed that Gujjar was one of its supporters and was participating in one of the ruling party’s public meetings in NA-122. The Union Council falls in the limits of PP-147 which is part of NA-122.

On the complaint of the victim’s brother, the Garhi Shahu police registered a murder case against 11 suspects. They included Farrukh Dogar, Aslam Dogar, Malik Bashir, Zafran and Asad.

Officials of a security agency said the “Sensitive” polling stations fall under “Category A” which indicates the strong likelihood of violent election clashes similar to Ghaffar Gujjar’s incident or worse. The sensitive polling stations mostly fall in PP-148 and few in PP-147 part of NA-122.

The remaining 231 polling stations fall in “Category B” which indicates the vote process is expected to be smooth but might face minor clashes in some areas.

No polling station falls under “Category C” which means the polling process would not face any threat by the candidates’ supporters.

The assessments to ascertain the likelihood of violence were prepared through surveys of the constituency by the security agency’s field officers.

Meanwhile, certain threat assessments also hint at the possibility of terrorist attacks on polling day, October 11. Militants could stage suicide attacks or use other means to spread terror. Search operations are already underway to catch possible saboteurs.

DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf said that a building to building security wall will be provided during the by-elections and video recording will be made through CCTV cameras.