LAHORE – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to deploy Rangers for by-elections to be held in two national and five provincial constituencies of Punjab on Tuesday (today).

Decision was taken in the wake of complaints about possible rigging. Bye-polls will be held in NA-107 Gujrat-4, NA-162 Sahiwal-3, PP-26 Jhelum-3, PP-92 Gujranwala-2, PP-129 Sialkot-9, PP-133 Narowal-2 and PP-226, Sahiwal-7. Rangers would remain deployed till election results. Results would be handed over to district returning officers under the supervision of paramilitary troops.

In NA-107, Gujrat-4, 12 candidates are in the race. Major contenders are PML-Q-PPP joint candidate Rehman Naseer Chaudhary and PML-N contestant Muhammad Hanif Malik.

A total of 11 candidates are vying to grab NA-162, Sahiwal-3. The major contenders are Chaudhry Zahid Iqbal of PML-N, Rai Hassan Nawaz, independent contender but associated with PTI and PPP-PML-Q joint contestant, Mehr Muhammad Ali Farid Kathiya.

Six candidates are in the race for PP-26, Jhelum-III, PML-Q-PPP jointly fielded, Muhammad Arif, from this constituency, while PML-N awarded the ticket to a non-party man due to differences among the central, provincial and local leaders.

Raja Muhammad Afzal is contesting the by-polls with the blessing of PML-N high command whereas Chaudhry Khadim Hussain, another PML-N leader, is also in the race with the support of the provincial leadership. According to local leaders, prominent groups of the PML-N are expected to back Raja Afzal.

A total of 12 contenders are in the field for PP-92, Gujranwala-II. The main contestants are PPP-PML-Q jointly fielded, Lala Asad Ullah Papa, and PML-N’s Muhammad Nawaz Chohan.

Chaudhary Ansar Iqbal Baryar, PML-Q and PPP joint candidate, and Chaudhry Mohsin Ashraf of PML-N are among the six candidates in PP-129, Sialkot-9.  Four candidates are contesting the by-election for PP-133, Narowal-II. The major contenders are Chaudhry Umar Sharif Ahmed, joint candidate of PML-Q and PPP and Dr Naimat Ali Javed of PML-N.

Major candidates from PP-226, Sahiwal-7, are Nasim Iqbal as PML-Q and PPP joint candidate and PML-N’s Muhammad Hanif. In addition, eight independent contenders are also in the run.