DIR - Jamaat-e-Islami candidate Izazul Mulk Afkari on Thursday emerged victorious in PK-95 by-election, defeating ANP candidate Haji Bahadur Khan.

According to the unofficial result, Aizazul Mulk won by securing 18,798 votes while his opponent Bahadur Khan of ANP remained runner-up. Bahadur Khan secured 16,822 votes. Total turnout in the constituency remained 40%. The by-poll largely remained peaceful. However, six supporters belonging to the JI and ANP were injured in sporadic minor clashes throughout the day.

Women were reportedly barred from casting votes at all polling stations of the provincial constituency. The PTI protested against disenfranchising of women during by-election in PK-95 constituency of Lower Dir, demanding Election Commission of Pakistan to take notice of it.

According to media reports, women were not allowed to exercise their right of vote; Shireen Mazari of PTI protested against it and demanded the ECP to take notice against it.

JI chief Sirajul Haq vacated the seat when he contested and won election for a seat in the Senate.

Political observers expected a tough contest between the JI and ANP candidates. Afkari is the Lower Dir president for the JI and has been a student leader. He is relatively young and active as a party loyalist.

ANP’s Bahadur Khan, on the other hand, is a former MPA who had become estranged from the party for some time.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers wanted to put up their own candidate but the party leadership decided to support the nominee of its ally, JI, which is part of the coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The election commission had established 179 polling booths for the 86,926 registered male voters and 85 booths for the 53,817 female voters in the constituency. Around 2,300 policemen would perform duty on the polling day.

The ANP workers had said that they would ask their female supporters to poll their votes if female voters of the JI cast votes. The observers were of the view that the by-election would have a strong impact on the local government elections being held on May 30.