LAHORE: By-elections will be conducted for two seats of the National Assembly and as many of the Punjab Assembly in three cities of Punjab on Saturday (today).
These seats were vacated after lawmakers elected from these seats resigned for having fake educational degrees. By-elections for the National Assembly seats will be held in constituencies NA- 167 (Burewala) and NA-178 (Muzaffargarh), while polls for the Punjab Assembly will be held in constituencies PP- 259 (Muzaffargarh) and PP-63 (Faisalabad). Twenty-two candidates will be running for NA-167 (Burewala), but tough competition is expected between Syed Mehdi Naseem Shah of the PML-N, Asghar Ali of the PPP and independent candidate Chaudhary Nazir.
In NA-178 (Muzaffargarh), a close match is likely between Jamshed Dasti of the PPP and former Punjab governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar, while Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan’s son, Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed Khan is also considered a strong candidate. Eighteen candidates are running for PP-63 (Faisalabad), where PPP candidate Rana Aftab Ahmed and PML-N candidate Mian Ajmal Asif are expected to have a close contest. In PP-259 (Muzaffargarh), nine candidates will be in the field but independent candidate Makhdoomzada Syed Basit Sultan and PPP’s Pappu Laghari are likely to have a close contest.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has supplied polling bags containing ballot papers and other required material to all 753 presiding officers of the Faisalabad, Vehari and Muzaffargarh districts. Provincial Election Commissioner Akhtar Hussain Sabir told APP on Friday that the election staff, including presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and polling officers, have been given necessary training for conducting the polls.
Giving details of the byelections, he said a total of 288 polling stations had been established in NA-167 for 363,091 registered voters, 252 polling stations in NA-178 for 283,623 voters, 103 polling stations in PP-259 for 122,142 voters and 110 polling stations in PP-63 for119,445 voters. Sabir further said that the Rangers will assist the local administration, police and election staff for maintaining a peaceful and congenial atmosphere at all polling stations.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 15th, 2010.