DERA GHAZI KHAN/MUZAFFARGARH/
MIANWALI/SIALKOT
The polling for by-election to different Punjab and National assemblies seats were held mostly in a peaceful manner except a few minor incidents across the province here on Thursday.
According to our correspondent in DG Khan, low turnout was observed in the by-election to PP-243 ‘apparently’ due to hot weather, poor management, incomplete voter lists and minor scuffles between the supporters of rival candidates. Heavy contingent of Pakistan Army was deployed at a number of polling stations while the officials of police and elite force were also deployed to maintain the law and order.
The police arrested the two workers from the polling station number 30 over the alleged charges of rigging while the wrong list of the female voters was provided at the polling station number 90 which contained the number of female voters to only ten. At a number of polling stations voters entered the polling stations with their cellphones which otherwise was banned the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The female voters were not allowed to cast the vote and they had to face great inconvenience. However, the issue was brought into the notice of the DCO who later claimed that the list had been updated by the returning officer.
There was also an issue of the rigging at polling station Gulwala Union Council Paigah in the polling booth meant for the female where the polling remained suspended which was then started with the intervention by Pak Army and the local administration. The by-election lacked traditional hustle and bustle at polling camps and the polling stations.
However, overall the polling was conducted in the peaceful manner. Overall turnout remained low and the contestants failed mobilize voters and bring them out to the polling stations.
However, turnout was assessed as 30 to 35 percent after rush of males voters was seen in polling stations after noon.
In MUZAFFARGARH, the police arrested five bogus voters from a polling station set up at Ghazi Ghat falling in constituency NA-177 while an armed man was taken into custody. The polling delayed for one hour in Qasba Gujrat due to mismanagement however the by-polls held in a peaceful manner at large in the district as no untoward incident was occurred.
Meanwhile, Jamshed Khan Dasti told mediamen that landlords and Waderas employed their old tactics to defeat the opponent but they foiled their designs with the support of the common man. His opponent Malik Noor Rabbani Khar said, “We do not believe in the blame game as we trust practical service to the people. I am optimistic that people would cast their votes in favour of PPP which has raised the issue of South Punjab Province and allocated maximum funds for this area.” Turnout was low as compare to the general election. There are 3,50,811 registered voters in NA-177 MUZAFFARGARH-I for which 360 polling stations were established out of which 109 were declared sensitive. DPO Rana Abdul Jabbar said that heavy police deployment had been made at sensitive polling stations to avert any contingency. About 24 candidates including Javed Khan Dasti (Ind), Malik Noor Rabbani Khar (PPP), Shahid Mustafa Qureshi of PTI are in the run for the slot.
Similarly, 154 polling stations were established for by-polls to PP-254 which has a total 1,69,927 registered voters. Of the total polling stations 77 were declared sensitive. PML-N candidate Hammad Nawaz Khan Tipu is vying with Malik Irshad Sial of PPP and Abdul Hye Dasti of the PTI in the constituency.
Similarly in MIANWALI, supporters of the PML-N and PTI clashed during by-polls in Mianwali on Thursday in which two persons sustained injuries.
Officials said that army was called in when scores of political workers scuffled at Manda Khel’s polling station 88 in NA-71 Mianwali-I constituency. Two people were injured in the clash.
The polling began at 8am in the morning and continued till 5pm in the evening without any break.
In SIALKOT, the polling for by-poll was held in a peaceful manner under the supervision of Pakistan Army at all the 103 polling stations and 327 polling booths established here by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding free, fair, impartial and transparent by-election held in Constituency PP-123, Sialkot-III.
According to the Returning Officer (RO) Sialkot Nadeem Gulzar, there are 168246 registered voters in Constituency PP-123, including 94,873 male and 73,373 female voters. Sialkot DCO Iftikhar Ali Sahu told the newsmen that polling remained peaceful as no untoward incident was reported from any polling station here.
Meanwhile, the turn out remained very low between 20 to 25 percent in the by-election till 02:00pm, the local ECP officials.
The media persons were not allowed inside polling station here till 02:00 pm by the ECP in Sialkot.
As many as five candidates Mansha Ullah Butt (PML-N), Muhammad Dawood Pervaiz (PTI), Haji Mushtaq Ahmed Mughal (PPP) Ch. Yaseen Gujjar and Hafiz Muhammad Raza (independent) were in the race for the seat.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif vacated this seat by retaining his national assembly seat (NA-110, Sialkot-I) after winning both of these seats (one national assembly and one provincial assembly seat) in the general elections .