The polling in 41 seats of National and Provincial Assemblies continues steadily across the country in the by-elections on Thursday.
There is a public holiday in 33 districts where the by-polls are being held. The polling process, started at 8:00 am would continue till 5:00 pm without any break. By-elections are being held on 15 National and 26 Provincial Assembly constituencies. Polling has been postponed on NA 25 Dera Ismael Khan-cum-Tank owing to security reasons.
As many as 500 candidates are in the fray in which 8.5 million voters have to elect their representatives. Some 201 candidates contesting for the National Assembly across the country, 180 candidates for 15 Punjab Assembly, 82 candidates for four Sindh Assembly and 27 and 32 candidates for four constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and four Balochistan Assembly seats.
Returning Officers have been directed by the Election Commission to fax unofficial results immediately after the counting. Official results should be sent through computerised result management system, they have been directed.
The Commission has imposed ban on keeping mobile phones at the time of polling votes in the by-elections. Presiding officers have been directed to ensure secrecy of vote.
Troops have been deployed inside and outside of highly sensitive polling stations.
Commanding army officers deployed at the polling stations have been given powers of First Class Magistrate.
A total of 7,606 polling stations have been established for the by elections. As many as 2,686 polling stations have been declared sensitive and 1,840 highly sensitive in various constituencies of the country.
In Sindh, 1,184 polling stations have been set up for three National Assembly and four provincial assembly constituencies with 365 sensitive and 819 highly sensitive polling stations.
In the KPK, around 2,000 polling stations have been set up with nearly 700 sensitive and around 300 highly sensitive polling stations to facilitate voters in four National Assembly and as many provincial assembly seats.
In Balochistan, 368 polling stations have been set up with 114 sensitive and 196 highly sensitive stations to facilitate voters on one National Assembly and three provincial assembly seats.
The National Assembly constituencies of by-elections include NA-1 Peshawar-I, NA-5 Nowshera-I, NA-13 Swabi-II, NA-27 Lakki Marwat, NA-48 Islamabad-I, NA-68 Sargodha-V, NA-71 Mianwali-I, NA-83 Faisalabad-IX, NA-103 Hafizabad-II, NA-129 Lahore-XII, NA-177 Muzaffargarh-II, NA-235 Sanghar-II, NA-237 Thatta, NA-254 Karachi-XVI and NA-262 Killa Abdullah.
The constituencies of provincial assemblies include PP-6 Rawalpindi-VI,PP-51 Faisalabad-I, PP-118 MB Din-III, PP-123 Sialkot-III, PP-142 Lahore-VI,PP-150 Lahore-XIV, PP-161 Lahore-XXV, PP-193 Oakara-IX, PP-210 Lodhran-IV, PP-217Khanewal-VI, PP-243 DG Khan-IV, PP-247 Rajanpur-I, PP-254 Muzaffargarh-IV, PP-289RY Khan-V and PP-292 RY Khan-VIII from Punjab province; PS-12 Shikarpur-II, PS-64 Mirpurkhas-I, PS-95 Karachi-VII and PS-103 Karachi-XV from Sindh; PK-23 Mardan-I, PK-27 Mardan-V, PK-42 Hangu-I and PK-70 Bannu-I from KhyberPakhtunkhwa, and;PB-29 Nasirabad-II, PB-32 Kachhi-III and PB-44 Lasbela-I from Balochistan.
The PTI chairman vacated three seats, NA-1 Peshawar, NA-71 Mianwali and NA-56 Rawalpindi retainingd NA-56. Another senior PTI leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi resigned from the Islamabad seat, NA-48, and kept his native Multan seat.PTI Secretary General Pervez Khattak, who was later elected as chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), retained the provincial seat and left the national seat, NA-5 Nowshera.
PTI KP President Speaker Asad Kaisar also retained the provincial assembly seat and resigned from NA-13 Swabi. Maulana Fazlur Rehman had won from three constituencies, he retained NA-24 Dera Ismail Khan.
By-election is also being held for one Balochistan seat, NA-262 Killa Abdullah, which was won by Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) chief Mehmood Achakzai along with NA-259 Quetta. He retained NA-259.
Pir Pagara’s PML-Functional vacated just one seat, NA-235 Sanghar. MNA Jamshed Dasti also got two Muzaffargarh seats, NA-177 and NA-178, on May 11. He vacated NA-177. He has now fielded his brother to try his luck.
The PPP had no seat to vacate, necessitating the by-poll. Four National Assembly seats, NA-83 Faisalabad, NA-103 Hafizabad, NA-237 Thatta and NA-254 Karachi, are not included in the tally of won constituencies of any political party for different reasons.
Polling for NA-83 and NA-254 was postponed due to the death of candidates while the ECP ordered recounting in NA-103 and polling for NA-237 was stayed by a court of law.