LAHORE: Polling for two Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly seats remained largely peaceful on Thursday amid tight security provided by the army and police.
Apart from minor confrontation between workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), voting continued peacefully from 8am to 5pm.
Citing clashes between political opponents during the previous elections in the city in 2011, several parties had expressed reservations with regard to the law and order.
More than 8,500 voters were registered for the two seats – LA-30 Jammu and LA-37 Valley II. Three major parties – the PML-N, the PTI and the Pakistan People Party (PPP) – were in the run. Police had set up pickets to cordon off the streets leading to all 29 polling stations, 19 for LA-30 and 10 for LA-37.
At some LA-37 Valley II polling stations, some PML-N and PTI workers resorted to intense sloganeering at polling camps. As polling ended in Islampura, police were called in to avert an untoward situation.
As many as 3,935 voters were registered in Lahore for the constituency. The voting was briefly delayed at Qila Lachman Singh and Delhi Gate polling stations following reports of some men voters being listed in the female voters’ lists.
The polling station at the Government Home Economics College, Gulberg, remained under spotlight as candidates of major political parties cast ballots there.
PTI candidate Ghulam Mohyeuddin Dewan credited the army for the peaceful polling. PPP’s Umar Sharif Bukhari, too, expressed satisfaction with the law and order.
A high turnout was witnessed at the polling station.
PML-N Punjab Women Wing’s information secretary Rizwana Idrees said she hoped that the party would win.
Of the 375 voters listed on the PML-N’s voters’ list for the station, 350 had cast their vote by 3pm, Idrees said.
The party’s polling camp was removed twice by security officials. “They said it was too close to the polling station so we had to shift it twice,” she said.
There were complaints of incomplete voter lists for LA-30. At the Green Town polling station, PPP and PML-N workers faced off close to each political parties’ polling camps. As many as 13 candidates were in the contest in the constituency, including candidates from the PTI, the PPP, the MQM and the PML-N.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Irfan Abbasi, the campaign coordinator for PTI candidate Maqsooduz Zaman Khan, said they had been provided an incomplete voter list for the polling station in Walton. He claimed that 120 votes with incomplete addresses had been registered from one household in the Chungi Amar Sidhu area. He said the turnout in the constituency was very low.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2016.
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