Polling station set on fire during voting for Tharparkar by-election

By: News Desk      Published: 11:22 AM, 21 Feb, 2021
Polling station set on fire during voting for Tharparkar by-election

As the political parties appeared to be running thin on patience for each other keeping in view the recent violence-marred by-elections, the story was not different in Tharparkar where a polling station was set on fire during the voting for NA-221 by-election on Sunday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The miscreants set ablaze the polling station in Karor Kaisaar Saman reducing the ballot papers and boxes to ashes after which the law-enforcing personnel arrested PTI leader Amanullah Samon along with his supporters.

An additional contingent of police and Rangers has been rushed to the polling station after which the fire has been doused. Uniforms of three policemen also burnt.

According to the police, a fight broke out between PTI and PPP supporters which led to the incident, halting the polling process which was resumed after a gap of two hours.

The polling for the National Assembly seat in Tharparkar's NA-221 began on Sunday with a healthy early turnout. 

A total of 4,000 police officers and security personnel have been stationed at polling stations across the district. 

Blame game

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party has accused the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) workers of stopping PPP voters from reaching the polling stations.

The GDA workers were also accused of attacking a car of the local PPP leaders.

Talking to newsmen after casting his vote, GDA MPA Abdur Razzaq Rahmon accused the PPP of indulging in rigging with the help of the police. “The PPP is creating hurdles for our voters in reaching the polling stations,” he added.

Abdur Razzaq further said that their agents were not allowed to sit at Gudru polling station which tantamount to damaging the polling atmosphere.

PTI-GDA tussle

The PTI has rejected an objection raised by GDA MPA Abdur Razzad about the polling agents for NA-221 by-election.

Abdur Razzaq argued that a non-local cannot be a polling agent in accordance with the election rules whereas PTI MNA Laal Maalhi was of the view that a non-local can be appointed as a polling agent but he cannot be appointed as chief polling agent. “There is no such rule as I had inquired from the Election Commission during the Umarkot by-election,” Laal Maalhi added.

By-election notes

Tharparkar's NA-221 fell vacant after the death of PPP leader Noor Muhammad Shah Jillani, who had contracted coronavirus. He was elected MNA from the constituency in the 2018 general elections after bagging 61,903 votes. 

In the by-election now, 12 candidates were contesting, but the real contest appeared to be between PPP's Mir Ali Shah Jillani and PTI's Nizamuddin Rahimoon. 

According to the ECP, a total of 281,900 voters have been registered in the constituency. At least 318 polling stations have been set up. Ninety-five polling stations have been declared "sensitive", while 13 "highly sensitive". 

Rangers personnel have been deployed outside these polling stations and CCTV cameras have been installed inside 200 stations. 

Police and Rangers personnel have been put on high alert while at least 4,000 cops have been deployed in the constituency for maintaining the law and order situation.