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Tuesday May 21, 2024

PML-N worker 'killed' in Punjab amid clashes during by-elections

Election commission takes notice of political activist’s killing, "abduction" of polling staff

By Web Desk
April 21, 2024
Security officials standing outside a polling station in Lahore during by-elections on April 21, 2024. — NNI
Security officials standing outside a polling station in Lahore during by-elections on April 21, 2024. — NNI

As violent incidents were reported in Punjab and Balochistan during by-polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sought reports on the “killing” of a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) worker in Punjab’s Narowal, and “abduction” of polling staff in Balochistan’s Qilla Abdullah.

During today’s (Sunday) by-polls on 21 national and provincial assembly seats, the polling process was marred by violent clashes between workers of different political parties in different areas of Punjab.

The cellular and internet services also remained suspended in some districts of Punjab and Balochistan to maintain law and order situation during the electoral process.

A PML-N activist was killed in a clash which broke out in Narowal’s PP-54 with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) workers.

The deceased worker from the ruling party was identified as Muhammad Yousuf who lost his life after the opponents hit his head with a stick during the fight, according to the police.

The police said that the worker was taken to hospital where he succumbed to injuries, adding that the polling was stopped in this constituency.

PML-N Vice President Hamza Shehbaz expressed sorrow over the loss of life of a party worker in Narowal.

Expressing condolence over the activist's death, Hamza slammed the PTI without taking its name, saying that hooliganism of a political party claimed life of an innocent man during the by-polls today.

The ruling party’s senior leader added that the politics of hatred spread chaos in the society.

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said that PTI cannot win elections through hooliganism. He added that the killers will be brought to justice.

After violent incidents were reported in different constituencies during the polling process, Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab Usman Anwar ordered the officers to ensure implementation of the law and order in all constituencies during the major electoral event.

He directed immediate action against the violators and ordered stepping up security measures at check posts as a ban was imposed on aerial firing and exhibition of arms.

The ECP also sought report regarding the alleged abduction of polling staff in Qila Abdullah.

According to a spokesperson of ECP, the commission, on the request of various candidates and the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, has sought report from the provincial election commissioner of Balochistan and the deputy commissioner of Qila Abdullah regarding the incident of alleged abduction of polling staff in PB-50 Qila Abdullah, according to state-run Radio Pakistan.

However, the deputy commissioner Qila Abdullah verbally told that no incident of abduction of polling staff occurred.

The ECP instructed the deputy commissioner to submit a written report in this regard so that appropriate decision can be taken on the aforementioned requests.

Separately, the election commission also took notice of complaints against a presiding officers (POs) for receiving signatures of polling agents on blank Form 45 in Lahore’s PP-149 constituency during by-elections.

The top electoral body sought a report from the Punjab election commissioner to carry out legal action.

Additionally, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja also took notice of another incident of interruption in the electoral process today after some armed men entered a polling station in Balochistan’s PB-50 Qilla Abdullah.

The CEC personally telephoned the provincial police chief and sought a report to take strict action against the responsible.