Polling ends, voting underway for Punjab's by-elections on 20 seats

Polling for 20 by-elections concluded at 5:00pm: PML-N needs only nine seats to secure CM slot: Qureshi's son offers sacrifice: PTI candidate’s agent tears apart ballot papers: Fawad Chaudhry praises voting process

By: News Desk
Published: 09:39 AM, 17 Jul, 2022
Polling ends, voting underway for Punjab's by-elections on 20 seats
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The polling time for bye-elections on the 20 seats of Punjab has been concluded at 5:00pm and ECP polling staff has started the counting of votes process.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that only those voters will be able to cast their votes who reached the polling stations before 5 pm. 

ECP said that only 14 complaints were received till 4 pm. 

The people on Sunday exercised their right to elect 20 lawmakers for Punjab Assembly which ultimately will decide who – PML-N or PTI – will be decorated with the crown to rule the province, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The polling for the ‘make-or-break’ by-elections on 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly began early Sunday and continued until 5:00pm.

The 20 by-elections became necessary after the seats got vacated following PTI MPAs who voted for Hamza Shehbaz in the chief minister election, were disqualified.

The results of the by-polls would be essential for the chief minister’s vote count, ordered by the Supreme Court, in the Punjab Assembly in July 2022.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) needs to win a total of nine seats in today’s by-elections to gain a majority in the house and to elect their chief minister.

By-elections polling was held in 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly including PP-7 Rawalpindi; PP-83 Khushab; PP-90 Bhakkar; PP-97 Faisalabad; PP-125 Jhang, PP-127 Jhang; PP-140 Sheikhupura; PP-158 Lahore; P-167 Lahore; PP-168 Lahore; PP-170 Lahore; PP-202 Sahiwal; PP-217 Multan; PP-224 Lodhran; PP-228 Lodhran; PP-237 Bahawalnagar; PP-272 Muzaffargarh; PP-273 Muzaffargarh; PP-282 Layyah and PP-288 Dera Ghazi Khan.

A total of 4.57 million registered voters, including 2.46 million women, were eligible to vote in the by-elections. A total of 3,131 polling stations, including 731 male, 700 female, and 1,700 combined polling stations were established across the 20 constituencies.

A total of 9,562 polling booths were set up for the by-polls. The ECP has declared 1,204 polling stations sensitive and 696 highly sensitive. Polling stations from Lahore and Multan were declared sensitive.

Security arrangements

Pakistan Army, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel were deployed to maintain order on the polling day. Pakistan Army troops will act as Quick Response Force. Over 52,000 policemen were out on the street to guard the polling stations.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan army troops carried out reconnaissance of most sensitive locations in respective areas as third-tier responders to any law and order situation in line with directions of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) during Punjab by-elections.

The military’s media wing added that the Army troops will perform only Quick Reaction Force (QRF) duties in case of any law and order situation arising during polling.

PTI candidate’s agent tears apart ballot papers 

A polling agent of PTI leader Ajmal Cheema went inside the polling station and allegedly tore the ballot paper of a voter for not casting his vote for his party in PP-97 Faisalabad.

The incident occurred at a polling station in Chak 106. 

The polling agents and police jawan also argued with each other.

City 41 reported that ECP staff and police seemed helpless in front of the local polling agents in Faisalabad village. 

The citizen claimed Ajmal Cheema’s polling agent tore his ballot paper and also alleged that polling staff were allegedly involved in rigging. 

However, later ECP denounced this claim by the PTI

Zain Qureshi offers sacrifice

PTI PP-217 candidate Zain Qureshi — son of PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi — sacrificed goats as Sadqa before leaving his Multan residence for the polling day activities in his constituency. 

After leaving his house, Zain Qureshi reached the shrine of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya.

Zain Qureshi has been facing sheer opposition as the ruling coalition government wanted to defeat him to give PTI a big blow as his father is the party’s VP.

Asad Umar appeals voters

Former federal minister and PTI leader Asad Umar have appealed to people to come out of their houses and take part in the polling for by-elections.

In a tweet posted on Sunday, Asad Umar said “Voters living in 20 by-election constituencies should vote for the real freedom of the nation in the morning. Today is not a day to sit at home.”

Jhang polling station’s staff forgets to bring ballot paper stamps

The staff deployed at a polling station in the PP-127 constituency of Jhang district forgot to bring the ballot paper stamps for the voting process in the by-election of Punjab, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The staff’s alleged negligence at the Jhang polling station (No. 113) delayed the voting process.

The voters protested after the polling process was disrupted due to the alleged negligence of the staff.

‘Imran and company’ avoid imposing own agenda on people: Atta Tarar

Punjab Home Minister Attaullah Tarar said Sunday that ‘Imran and company’ should accept the public opinion in the by-election and avoid imposing their agenda on people through illegal means.

He reiterated the vow to ensure peaceful and transparent by-elections in Punjab, adding that the miscreants would be dealt with sternly.

“The political opponents should also give respect to vote and keep themselves away from rigging,” he stated.

Polling going on in really good atmosphere: Fawad

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry said Sunday that polling was going on in a really good atmosphere.

“There are minor complaints, but the environment is good overall. The weather too is still cooperative,” he said.

“Those who are yet to cast their votes should immediately reach the polling stations and fulfill their duty,” he urged the voters.

Reporters Umar Aslam, Shahzad Khan Abdali, Imran Aslam