A number of clashes, incidents of firing in the air, disruption of polling, late delivery of ballot papers and arrival of polling staff and a shortage of election material were reported in the Faisalabad district where polls were held for 10 national and 21 provincial assembly seats.
Polling in NA-83 and PP-51 had been postponed due to the death of an independent candidate, Muhammad Amjad Rabbani, who was contesting elections from both seats.
Three people were injured at the Government Boys’ High School in Samundri, where an independent candidate for PP-60 was accused of beating up supporters of the PML-N candidate Rao Kashif. Polling was suspended for an hour before returning officer Iqbal Goraya along with police reached the scene. Two people, Muneer and Akram, were arrested by Samundri Saddar police after they registered an FIR against six people, including the independent candidate Ghulam Rasool, for forcibly taking CNICs from voters. The police said they had recovered about 50 CNICs from the men.
In more than 103 polling stations, polling started late because of the late arrival of staff or was disrupted when they ran out of election material.
In NA-76 (Chak No126, Jaranwala), a PML-N supporter, identified as Arif Husain, was accused of opening fire and injuring Waseem Ahmad, a PPP supporter. Husain has not been arrested yet. In Chak No.53-GB, the same constituency, polling was stopped for a while after women belonging to the PTI and the PML-N exchanged hot words. Another scuffle between supporters of the PML-N and the PPP candidates was reported from Chak No144-GB as a result of which polling was suspended for a few minutes.
A presiding officer told The Express Tribune In NA-75, polling was halted for some time when supporters of PML-N forced voters at polling station No193 to cast votes for their candidate. The presiding officer said that they had sent a report to the returning officer.
According to the polling staff that The Express Tribune talked to, the turnout in the district was more than 65 per cent. However, the figure is yet to be confirmed by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
With the exception of Bhakkar district, polling in most of South Punjab (including Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan, Cheechawatni, Khanewal, Multan, Lodhran, Vehari, Muzaffarhgarh, Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Bahawalnagar) went without incident.
Two men died in a fight that broke out between supporters of the PML-N candidate Abdul Majeed Khan and independent candidate Sanaullah Masti Khel. The men who died belonged to the PML-N. They were identified as Ali Nawaz and Muhammad Yameen. An FIR was registered by the Doolahay Waala police.
Fazilpur police arrested the PML-N candidate for PP-248, Sher Ali Gorchani, for beating up the polling staff and attempting to rig the elections. The operation was jointly conducted by the police and the army. Police said Gorchani and 10 others had beaten up the staff deployed at a polling station in Hamuwala in Jampur sub district. The men, they said, had tried to take away ballot papers and ballot boxes. Stamps and 40 ballot papers were recovered from the men.
Shadi Khel police said they were looking for JUI-F candidate for NA-171, Mir Badshah Qaiserani who allegedly beat up polling staff. The police have arrested three of his accomplices. Khawaja Mudassir of the PTI – a candidate for NA-171 – was arrested for beating up a polling officer. He was released after wards on bail. In NA-148, two workers of the PPP were arrested for beating the presiding officer of chak-1/T polling station.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2013.