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Tuesday June 25, 2024

City witnesses peaceful, uninterrupted polling

By Salman Aslam & Ali Raza
April 22, 2024
A female voter casting her vote in a polling station during the by-election 2024 at Garhi Shahu School on April 21, 2024. — APP
A female voter casting her vote in a polling station during the by-election 2024 at Garhi Shahu School on April 21, 2024. — APP

LAHORE: Polling in five constituencies of Lahore has ended peacefully as no major incidence of violence was reported here on Sunday.

In Lahore, the by-polls were held at NA-119, PP-147 Lahore-lll, PP-149 Lahore-V, PP-158 Lahore-XlV and PP-164 Lahore XX. Punjab’s Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz left the seat of National Assembly NA-119 while PP-164 and PP-158 were left by the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) Vice President and former Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz left the seat PP-147 and President Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) Aleem Khan left the seat PP-149.

According to the Election Commission, polling for 5 seats of the National Assembly and 16 seats of the Provincial Assembly started at 8am and continued till 5 pm across the country.

Internet services were suspended in the constituencies of elections. PTA said suspension of mobile phone service has been done to complete the election process in an uninterrupted and transparent manner.

Riot force and reserve force personnel remained on alert to deal with any untoward situation. The code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan was duly implemented on the polling day.

During polling, effective monitoring was ensured through control rooms and CCTV cameras. During the polling, the teams of Elite, Dolphin and Police Responce Unit (PRU) continued patrolling across the city.

Deputy Inspector General Operations visited various polling stations in the city early in the morning before the start of the election process. He reviewed the security arrangements of different polling stations of the city including Misri Shah, Naulakha, Mughalpura, Badami Bagh, and Shadbagh.

He said that full security was provided to 921 polling stations of the provincial capital. He said that more than 15 thousand officers and men of Lahore police performed security duties. Female police personnel were also deployed for the protection and checking of women.

On the request of the Election Commission, the federal government approved the deployment of civil armed forces and army. According to the police sources, police security first, civil armed forces second and Pakistan Army personnel performed duties in the third tier.

Election Monitoring and Control Center was also established for the by-elections 2024, and the people were given the facility to contact and file complaints regarding the election. Police said minor scuffles were reported in various areas as in polling station 171 of PP-149, there was a fight between Sunni Ittehad Council and IPP candidates. PTI voters alleged that the Presiding Officer of Polling Station No. 127 in PP-149 got form 45 signed from the polling agents before polling ended.

Following this, the workers and voters of Sunni Ittehad Council protested and reportedly fought with the presiding officer over premature signing of Form-45. Sunni Ittehad Council’s candidate Hafiz Zeeshan also staged a dharna with his colleagues at the polling station and termed the action of the presiding officer as pre-poll rigging.

In another incident, police arrested Shabbir Gujjar, former member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. Sources said the police arrested Shabir Gujjar from Valencia Town and so far the reason for his arrest could not be revealed. Chaudhry Shabbir’s spokesperson said that there was no case against the former member of the Punjab Assembly and no fight has taken place.

The leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and senior lawyer Salman Akram Raja while talking to the media said on the elections day the internet was blocked again to alter election results. Salman Akram Raja said, “We will continue to fight for the protection of the constitution and law and the country, we have an agreement with the nation, we will fight for the truth.”

The PTI leader stated that the rigging was not done during the polling but after the polling was over. He said the founder of PTI was in jail but the public was with him.

Meanwhile, Shahzad Farooq, candidate of Sunni Ittehad Council from NA-119, also accused that their voters were threatened; ‘police were abusing our voters and threatened them that they will be booked in May 9 incidents.” He also accused that his two polling agents were arrested from Singhpura polling station.

Shahzad Farooq also alleged that his vote boxes have been changed. He said government ministers were campaigning all day and despite repeated complaints to the Election Commission no action was taken.