Saturday September 25, 2021

2 shot dead, several injured amid violence during NA-75 by-polls in Sialkot

Clashes occur between PTI and PML-N workers across the constituency, each accusing the other for a bid to affect voter turnout
February 19, 2021
A wounded man is administered first aid after clashes broke out during a by-election in the NA-75 (Sialkot-IV) constituency in the Daska tehsil, on February 19, 2021. — Geo News screengrab

Two people were killed and several injured as violence broke out on Friday during the by-polls held at NA-75 (Sialkot-IV) constituency in the Daska tehsil.

The identity of the two people who died has not been ascertained yet.

Clashes occurred between workers of the PTI and PML-N across the constituency and at the Gondla polling station, the situation escalated to a point where shots were fired. Eight people were injured of which two later succumbed to their injuries.

According to Geo News, first coronavirus got in the way with polling suspended due to a violation of safety protocols and then later violence disrupted the polling, the time for which ended at 5pm. Those still inside polling stations will be allowed to cast their votes.

PML-N's Rana Sanaullah had petitioned for the polling time to be increased in view of the disruption. He accused the "government's thugs" to attempting to thin out the voter turnout with violence, claiming that PTI's polling camps were all empty and unattended.

The request was turned down by the Election Commission.

PTI's Usman Dar, in response, accused Sanaullah of disturbing the law and order in the constituency. "Rana Sanaullah was roaming around with groups of armed men," he said, adding that a police complaint will be registered against him.

He claimed Sanaullah "wants to do in Daska what was done in Model Town".

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar's aide Firdous Ashiq Awan joined in by saying what occurred was the "traditional thuggery by PML-N" under the leadership of Sanaullah. She claimed PTI workers were harassed by PML-N.

When approached by Geo News reporters, police did not respond to questions about the firing and claimed polling had gone on uninterrupted.

CM takes notice of  incident

Chief Minister Buzdar, while taking notice of firing incident, has sought a report from the inspector general of Police (IGP).

The chief minister has ordered the arrest of the suspects at the earliest and said that action would be initiated against those found responsible without any discrimination.

Blame game between candidates

PTI candidate Ali Asjad and PML-N contender Syeda Nausheen blamed each others' parties for instigating violence.

Asjad claimed that PML-N "could not stand losing" and so resorted to violence. Nausheen, on the other hand, claimed that people had witnessed armed men with PTI flags outside polling stations firing shots in the air and chanting party slogans, which also resulted in power lines breaking and falling down. "We have no arms," she insisted.

Meanwhile, TLP's chief polling agent Sahibzada Fazal Haq also claimed that his car was fired upon and his windows lie shattered.

Situation remains tense

Reporting from the Degree College polling station, Geo News correspondent Umar Ejaz said that even after polling time ended, the PTI and PML-N workers continued to chant slogans against one another.

He said shots were no longer being fired, as was the case intermittently throughout polling time.

The correspondent, who had spoken to the Medical Superintendent of Civil Hospital Daska Latif Sahi, said that eight people had been brought injured to the facility, of which two had died. It could not be ascertained which party they belong to.