LAHORE   -  Unlike the expectations, the political parties failed to mobilise the electorate to come to the polling stations for casting votes in Sunday’s by-polls held in four constituencies of Lahore, leading to low turnout as compared to the last general elections.

Though the turnout is traditionally low in by-elections, but the PTI and the PML-N were expected to bring out greater number of voters to the polling stations given the tough nature of contests having political implications for the two parties. 

The situation at several polling stations was so pathetic till at noon that the political workers seemed to have outnumbered the actual voters coming to polling stations for exercising their right to vote. However, the situation gradually improved with more people coming out to vote for their favourite candidates. 

At some polling stations, even the disabled and aging people were present for voting.

A youth took his eager ageing father to a polling station in Usman Gunj, NA-124. Women also showed interest in the voting process but not to the extent witnessed in the last general elections.

Women from posh localities like DHA also lacked the usual enthusiasm which had been their hallmark in previous elections.

Despite small queues of voters outside some polling stations at the end of polling time, the overall turnout remained low compared to the last general polls.

This was in keeping with the traditional low turnout in any by-election. 

With the exception of few unpleasant incidents, the voting process generally remained peaceful in the two NA and the same number of provincial constituencies. 

PTI and PML-N workers came face to face outside Diyal Singh College with both the sides chanting slogans in favour of their party candidates. Timely police intervention, however, helped avoiding any untoward incident.

No such incident was reported from any other polling station.

The by-polls were held peacefully in Lahore as police and other law-enforcing agencies threw a massive security blanket in the metropolis to avoid any untoward incident.

Hundreds of police guards were deployed around the polling stations in Lahore while Army troops were on guard inside the polling stations.

More than 200 polling stations were declared as sensitive in the metropolis.

Several police response units were also on patrol in the sensitive areas.

A police spokesman claimed that Lahore Police made comprehensive security arrangements for the by polls.

“At least 12 SPs and more than 12,000 policemen were deployed to ensure foolproof security for the by elections,” the spokesman said.

Every voter was allowed to enter the polling station after proper physical search, he added.

In Lahore, the by-polls were conducted at 881 polling stations while at least 193 polling stations were declared as sensitive.