Vote count begins after by-polls held amid sporadic violence

News Desk
Monday, Apr 22, 2024

ISLAMABAD: Counting of votes began after polling for by-elections on 21 National and provincial assembly seats concluded on Sunday with sporadic incidents of violence being witnessed during the electoral process in some areas of Punjab.

Polling for the by-elections on 21 National and provincial assembly seats began earlier in the day amid high security and temporarily suspension of internet and cellular services in several districts of Punjab and Balochistan. The voting for the by-polls started at 8am and continued till 5pm.

The federal government suspended cellular services temporarily in specific districts of Punjab and Balochistan during the by-elections owing to security situation. In this regard, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) issued a statement, saying the decision to suspend the internet and cellular services was taken to “safeguard the integrity and security of the electoral process”. Meanwhile, at the request of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the federal government approved the deployment of Pakistan Army and Civil Armed Forces (CAF) troops during the polling process.

The government said it would use the armed forces units as a quick response force. The notification mentioned that the CAF and Pakistan Army units would be used as second and third tiers of security and they would be available with immediate effect till April 22 in 21 constituencies.

As the polling was taking place, a clash between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers took place in PP-54 in Narowal.

During the incident, a PML-N worker, Muhammad Yousuf, was killed after the opponents allegedly hit his head with a stick during the fight, said the police The police added the worker was taken to hospital where he succumbed to injuries, adding the polling was stopped in the constituency.

PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said the PTI cannot win elections through “hooliganism”, adding the killers will be brought to justice.Meanwhile, an argument broke out between workers of both parties in NA-199 constituency of Lahore.

The police said the clash took place at polling station No 171 of Lahore College, adding the workers grabbed and dragged each other.However, the police took the workers to their camps to resolve the matter.

Another clash broke out between SIC and PML-N workers in PP-139 constituency in Sheikhupura. The workers beat each other due to which three people were injured.The police said the fight took place over election camp, adding they took two people into custody. The polling had stopped briefly due to firing, however, it resumed after a while.

Another incident took place in Rahim Yar Khan during which workers of two political parties clashed and broke windows of cars. The fight occurred in PP-266 constituency. The elections were held on five NA seats, 12 Punjab Assembly seats, two each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Assemblies and one in Sindh Assembly.

The NA seats were NA-8 and NA-44 (KP); NA-119 and NA-132 (Punjab); and NA-196 (Sindh). Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has won one seat in the form of NA-207, Nawabshah from where Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has been elected unopposed.

The provincial assembly seats included PK-22 and PK-91 (KP); PB-20 and PB-22 (Balochistan); and PS-80 (Sindh). The Punjab Assembly seats where the by-polls took place were PP-32 (Gujrat), PP-36 (Wazirabad), PP-54 (Narowal), PP-93 (Bhakkar), PP-139 (Sheikhupura), PP-147, PP-149, PP-158, PP-164 (Lahore), PP-266 (Rahim Yar Khan) and PP-290 (Dera Ghazi Khan).