Rawalpindi -  Turn out in rural and urban areas of National Assembly constituencies NA 53, 60 and 63 remained high amid peaceful conduct of the by-election as female voters, especially, thronged the polling stations in big numbers, The Nation observed on Sunday.

Polling at different union councils on Mohra Noor, Bani Gala, Dhamial, Hayal, Chakri Road, Chontra, Sadiqabad, Shakrial, Dhoke Kala Khan, Gareebabad, Chah Sultan, Taxila, Wah Cantt and in other areas remained peaceful as great hustle and bustle was seen outside the polling stations during the by-elections.  City Police Officer Rawalpindi Abbas Ahsan and Deputy IG Operations, Islamabad Raja Faisal Ali visited various polling stations and checked the security arrangements. The candidates and the federal minister Ghulam Sarwar also visited different polling stations and witnessed the polling process.

A clash occurred between supporters and voters of PTI and PML-N at polling station established in 6 Number School at Basti, Wah Cantt. However, police controlled the situation.

A visit to different polling stations revealed that voters in urban and rural areas showed great interest in the by-elections.

Sharing their views with The Nation, the voters said that they would vote for the candidate who had the ability to address their problems.

Both the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had fielded their candidates in NA constituencies 53, 60 and 63.

Polling at some polling stations was started later than the scheduled time because the female staff of the Election Commission reached late on the polling stations. Male staff, on the other hand, had to face problems at the polling stations. Polling in Hayal and Dhamial also started late, causing troubles for voters.

At some polling stations, there were no lady police personnel, creating problems for managing the female voters. “In the absence of lady police, it is difficult for the poling staff to discipline the voters and provide security to the staff”, said a female polling staffer.

At some points, the Election Commission had set up more than one polling booth in one building, creating problems for the election staff. “It was very difficult for us to handle the rush of voters in the school building where 3 polling booths, each for male and female voters, were set up”, said a female school teacher stationed at a government-run school.

The voters keep their cards close as they did not express openly about who they would vote for. “We cannot disclose our decision. It is not safe to disclose our decision. It is by election and political differences can turn into family feuds,” said Obaid who was standing in queue to cast his vote in NA-63.

 Talking to The Nation, Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the PTI would win the by-elections across the country. He said that the youth of Pakistan were supporting the PTI. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was committed to recover the looted money from the corrupt politicians.

Meanwhile, an incident of violence and verbal clash occurred among supporters of candidates of two rival parties, PTI and PML-N in Taxila. According to eyewitnesses, the PML-N and PTI supporters and voters wrestled with each other in Government High School near Sarae Kala Chowk Polling Station in  Taxila when the later accused the former of rigging. The supporters of both the parties chanted slogans against each other.

Similarly, the situation also got tense on a polling station set up at Number 6 School at Wah Cantt when PTI MPA Taimoor Masood allegedly slapped and tore clothes of Tauqeer Minhas, a PML-N worker. The PML-N supporters protested against the MPA for torturing their worker. The PML-N candidate Barrister Aqeel also reached at the spot and condemned the incident. He asked the SHO to register FIR against the MPA and his supporters involved in the incident.

On the other hand, CPO Abbas Ahsan along with heavy contingent of police visited the polling stations located in limits of police station Chontra and met with cops and the voters. He also observed election duty and expressed his satisfaction over arrangements made by the police for smooth polling.

In Islamabad, DIG Operations Raja Faisal Ali visited Mohra Noor polling station and interacted with media persons. He said that police had made strict arrangements for holding the by-polls. He said that as many as 3,000 police officials were deployed for security during the by-polls. He said that Pakistan Army troops were also assisting the police in security process.

He said that media persons were issued special cards to visit and monitor the polling process. However, carrying mobile phones inside the polling stations were not allowed, he said.

An armed clash also took place between violent supporters of PTI and PML-N outside Divisional Public School, where polling for NA-60 was underway.

 However, nobody was hurt in the firing. The district government called Pakistan Rangers in to control the situation. A heavy contingent of police also rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area. The law enforcement agencies dispersed the protestors.