MULTAN

Six companies of Rangers were deployed in PP-196 to maintain peace during by-election taking place on Thursday (today) as Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) handed over the election material to the polling staff here on Wednesday.

Regional Election Commissioner Israr Khan told the journalists that the arrangements for the election had been finalised as 133 polling stations including 67 for men and 66 women had been set up in the constituency. He said that 47 polling stations had been declared sensitive while the election material was shipped to the polling stations and strict security arrangements had been made for the holding of free, fair and transparent election. He disclosed that 133 presiding officers, as many assistant presiding officers and 380 polling officers would perform election duty.

The PP-196 constituency had got vacated because of disqualification of Punjab Minister for Prisons Ch Abdul Waheed Arrain by the election tribunal for holding two national identity cards. The district administration has declared public holiday on Thursday (today). A total of 176513 registered voters including 96121 men and 80194 women will use their right to vote. The ECP sources said that a total of 36 candidates submitted their nomination papers out of which 20 withdrew while two others announced retirement. Now 14 candidates are in the run. They include Sakhawat Ali Siyal of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen with the electoral sign Khaima (camp), Muhammad Hussain Arrain of PPPP (Arrow), Habib Ansari of APML (Eagle), Rana Abdul Jabbar of PTI (Bat), Rana Mahmoodul Hassan of PML-N (Lion), Sheikh Muhammad Younus of  Allah o Akbar Tehreek (Cow) and Talib Ali Javed Anjum of Pakistan Sunni Tehreek (Table Lamp).

The independent candidates including Asif Rasool Awan have been allotted the sign of Guitar, M Latif Ansar Lajpal Toothbrush, Bashir Akhtar Rabbit, Dr Muhammad Siraj Pressure Cooker, Rao Zulqarnain Goat, Muhammad Waseem Stapler and Nasreen Akhtar Bailan Wooden Roller.

Meanwhile, the district administration imposed Section 144 in the premises of all polling stations and banned provoking speeches, distribution of any kind of literature, display of arms and firing.

DCO Zahid Saleem Gondal said that the district administration fully cooperated with the ECP. He asked the citizens to stay peaceful and support administration for making the polling process transparent.