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April 11, 2021

PML-N downs PTI in Daska

Top Story

April 11, 2021

DASKA: The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) Saturday unofficially won the high-stakes by-election in NA-75 Sialkot-IV with its candidate Nosheen Iftikhar bagging 111,220 votes defeating the PTI’s Ali Asjad Malhi by a margin of 19,201 votes.

According to the unofficial results received from 360 polling stations, Nosheen Iftikhar was polled 111,220 votes with Ali Asjad Malhi trailing behind her with 92,019 votes.

A wave of jubilation swept through the constituency with the PMLN workers and activists taking out rallies and distributing sweets to celebrate the victory.

The polling started at 8am and continued till 5pm without break.

A total of 360 polling stations were set up for 4,94,000 registered voters. Forty-seven polling stations were declared sensitive by the ECP.

The ECP had directed the authorities to install over 100 CCTV cameras at sensitive polling stations to monitor the situation on polling day.

The day remained largely uneventful, barring a few claims and counter claims by the top two contending parties, say media reports.

Nosheen Iftikhar claimed that the presiding officer had himself caught a person casting a bogus vote.

Asjad Malhi expressed confidence accused the PMLN of trying to influence the outcome by moving people from outside the constituency to NA-75.

Both candidates, however, were satisfied overall with the arrangements made for the polling this time around.

At 11:19am, nine people were arrested outside Polling Station 17 for carrying weapons, according to the Election Commission.

An FIR has been registered against them. The suspects were supporters of the PTI and PML-N. They were chanting slogans against each other.

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja Saturday said a free and fair environment had been ensured for a transparent election.

He said the monitoring cells established by the Election Commission worked round the clock.

Raja said he had directed the presiding officers to provide the copies of Form 45 after getting signatures, while the POs should WhatsApp the copies of the forms to the returning officer.

The ECP had tightened security to maintain law and order in the area.

Over 4,000 police officers and 1,048 Rangers were deployed in the area, while 10 teams of the Pakistan Army's Quick Response Force were available to assist the local administration in maintaining the law and order.

The seat fell vacant after the death of the PMLN parliamentarian Syed Iftikharul Hassan Shah on August 2, last year.

The results of by-election held on 19th February were stopped due to violence, rigging and disappearance of over 20 presiding officers.

On February 25th, the Election Commission ruled that a re-polling will be held on 18th March 2021 in whole NA-75 constituency but on 16th March the ECP decided to extend the polling date.

On 2nd April, the Supreme Court rejected the PTI’s appeal against the ECP’s order to conduct re-polling in the entire constituency of NA-75 Daska.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial had taken up an appeal filed by PTI candidate Ali Asjad Malhi challenging the ECP’s Feb 25 decision to order re-election in the entire constituency.

In the short order, Justice Bandial said the court had taken the decision in light of the law, the Constitution and its own jurisdiction.

Earlier in the day, the Election Commission issued show-cause notices to PMLN MPA Zeeshan Rafiq and Special Assistant to the Punjab Chief Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan for violating the election code of conduct.

The PTI workers stopped Zeeshan Rafiq when he arrived in the constituency and told him that he could not visit, as he was a lawmaker. Police officers asked Zeeshan Rafiq to leave the premises.

At 4:43pm, Ali Asjad Malhi wrote a letter to the ECP complaining against the PMLN lawmakers.

He said the MPAs and MNAs of PMLN such as Ali Zahid, Mian Zeeshan Rafiq, Naveed Ashraf, and Rana Sattar had visited the polling stations with their armed guards and tried to spread fear among the voters, which was a clear violation of the election code of conduct.

Malhi said if any violent incident took place at any polling station, then the responsibility would rest w PML-N and ECP will be responsible for it.

When the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar reached Government College for Women, Daska at 1:15pm, a sloganeering contest began between the PTI and PMLN supporters, accusing each other of corruption and rigging.

Talking to the media, Buzdar critically said that this time, there won’t be any violence at the polling stations in the city because PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah was not there.

“Our Captain [Prime Minister Imran Khan] isn’t someone who gets scared easily or accepts defeat,” the leader said.

At 1pm, PML-N’s Tarrar visited the Bakhrewali polling station. He claimed that men were stationed on duties in the women’s area.

“We have also received reports of fake votes,” he added.

Daska is known as an industrial area, but recently it caught the nation’s attention after the PMLN and the PTI got involved in a fierce battle during the February by-election in NA-75 Sialkot IV.

Apart from the duel, the constituency became the centre of national politics after the presiding officers of the February by-polls went missing due to fog.

Following the controversial by-election, the ECP ordered re-election in the constituency.

The PTI had challenged the ECP order in the Supreme Court, but the petition was dismissed and the election was held on April 10 as per schedule.