Cru­cial by-elec­tions tak­ing place to­day

Gulf Times - - PAKISTAN -

All is set for the by-elec­tion to­day in 35 con­stituen­cies coun­try­wide in Pak­istan.

Out of a to­tal of 7,489 polling sta­tions, 1,727 have been de­clared highly-sen­si­tive.

Ac­cord­ing to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan (ECP), by-elec­tions will be held in 11 Na­tional As­sem­bly con­stituen­cies and 24 pro­vin­cial con­stituen­cies.

Out of 11 Na­tional As­sem­bly con­stituen­cies, one is in Is­lam­abad, eight in Pun­jab, and one each in Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.

A to­tal of 51,235 polling personnel will be in­volved in the elec­toral ex­er­cise.

Army personnel will guard the polling sta­tions, both in­side and out­side, and will be re­spon­si­ble for se­cu­rity from Oc­to­ber 12 to 15.

The ECP is­sued no­ti­fi­ca­tions on the shift­ing of four polling booths to new lo­ca­tions (build­ings) as re­quested by the re­gional elec­tion com­mis­sioner/ dis­trict elec­tion com­mis­sioner (DRO), NA-131, La­hore.

The com­mis­sion wrote to the DRO in re­sponse to his letters writ­ten to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion Sec­re­tariat on Oc­to­ber 5 and 8.

Mean­while, a three-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion of the Pak­istan Mus­lim League – Nawaz (PML-N) met ECP Sec­re­tary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mo­hamed and shared their con­cern over the ar­rest of PML-N pres­i­dent She­hbaz Sharif just ahead of the by-elec­tion.

The PML-N team com­prised Sen­a­tors Sar­dar Yaqoob Nasir, Chaudhry Tan­vir Khan, and Mar­riyum Au­rangzeb.

The PML-N lead­ers em­pha­sised that the ar­rest of their party leader, who’s also Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the Na­tional As­sem­bly, would have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the by­elec­tion.

Speak­ing with me­dia per­sons out­side the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion Sec­re­tariat af­ter the meet­ing, Au­rangzeb and Tan­vir said that they had ap­prised the ECP sec­re­tary of their con­cerns.

They also shared their party’s reser­va­tions about the July 25 gen­eral elec­tion.

They said that bal­lot count­ing af­ter polling should be made be­fore polling agents, and that Form-47 be pre­pared be­fore the can­di­dates and their polling agents.

PML-N chair­man Raja Mo­hamed Za­farul Haq, who is also the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the Se­nate, has al­ready writ­ten a let­ter to the ECP chief Jus­tice (re­tired) Mo­hamed Raza Khan, re­quest­ing that he order im­me­di­ate re­lease of the PML-N pres­i­dent.

The let­ter had said that with the by-elec­tion just round the cor­ner, a level play­ing field was not be­ing en­sured for all the con­test­ing par­ties.

He de­scribed the ar­rest of the PML-N pres­i­dent as pre­poll rig­ging.

Elec­tion pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers carry elec­tion ma­te­ri­als for a by-elec­tion af­ter re­ceiv­ing them from the dis­tribut­ing point in La­hore yes­ter­day. More than 100 can­di­dates are con­test­ing for 35 Na­tional As­sem­bly and Pro­vin­cial As­sem­bly seats in the by-elec­tion sched­uled for to­day.

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