SARGODHA / GUJRANWALA: The by-election in the Sargodha constituency NA-68, was marred by the floods. As around 100,000 voters were forced to evacuate various areas in the constituency.
The real competition was between the PML-N candidate, Sardar Shafqat Hayat Baloch, and an independent candidate, Mian Mazhar Qureshi, who was supported by the PPP.
In Sial Sharif, a fake NADRA ID card was seized from a man. In another discrepancy, 156 votes were cast according to the record kept at a polling station but when they were counted, the incharge catalogued
171 votes for the station. There were also reports of polling agents casting votes at polling stations 166 and 167.
Fights and squabbles were reported from several areas. At the polling stations number 25 and number 24, PML-N and PPP workers quarrelled.
At the Kot Musa polling station, a PPP worker slapped the PML-N MPA, Farah Deeba, after which polling remained suspended for around one-and-a-half hour. Polling resumed after Federal Minister Tasnim Qureshi intervened.
The NA-68 seat fell vacant after the PML-N MPA Javed Hussain Shah’s degree was ruled to be a fake.
In the constituency, there are 383,743 voters out of which 205,000 are men and 178,000 are women. 306 polling stations and 868 polling booths were set up for the by-election. Around 37 polling stations were declared ‘most sensitive’ and 17 were declared ‘sensitive’. Around 2,000 police officials in addition to Rangers and FC officials were deployed in the constituency to ensure that the by-polls were peaceful.
Seven people were arrested by the police during the polling process in the NA-100 constituency, Noshera Virkan. The voting started at 8 am and ended at 5 pm.
During the nine hours, several quarrels were reported.
Soon after polling started, workers of both PML-N and PPP had a fight in which former MPA Amanat Ali’s brother, Saifullah Ali, and three others were injured. Heavy contingents of police reached the scene to control the situation. In MPA Khalid Pervez’s village, his younger brother, Abid Javed, was arrested after he clashed with the police.
He was later released.
In Windala Virkan and Urtali Virkan, five people were injured in a quarrel between PPP and PML-N workers. Charged people also broke the windows of a vehicle.
226 polling stations were set up in the constituency. Out of these, 166 were declared ‘sensitive’ and 60 ‘most sensitive’. The number of registered voters in the constituency is 329,285. 177,955 are men and 151,336 are women.
The seat was vacated after a PML-N MPA Mudasar Qayum Nahra’s degree was found to be a fake. Law minister Rana Sanaullah, who visited the constituency, said that the Punjab government had remained “impartial during the by-elections”. To a question he said that around 2,000 police officials were deployed in the constituency. He confirmed that a case had been registered against a man named Imran for casting a fake vote. The minister estimated the turnout in the constituency at 30 to 40 per cent.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2010.
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