Syed barkat mujtaba

Lahore - The by-elections on four vacant seats of the Punjab Assembly were held in Lahore on Sunday in which a large number of people exercised their right to vote.

At start, the polling process was slow till 12pm but after that the election process gained momentum as people started to come out to vote in big numbers.

Workers of all parties were seen encouraging their voters to come out of their homes to vote. Various political parties had also arranged rides to facilitate their voters to come to the polling stations. Voters of all the parties were seen acquiring the voting slips from their respective polling camps. Media and unrelated persons were not allowed enter the polling station. Mostly people were seemed satisfied with the polling process.

Women were seen driving to the polling stations with their families. The overall turn out for all the four constituencies of Lahore was 30 to 35 percent. Women and youth came out in good numbers to cast their votes. A large number of boys and girls were seen excited to cast their vote at the polling stations. The youth came to vote along with their elderly family members.

Approximate 25 percent female voters came to support their political parties. Elders and the physically-challenged people were also seen in the line to cast their votes to their respective parties. A disabled person, who came to cast his vote in PP-168, said that casting the vote was the responsibility of every citizen because their vote will determine the future direction of their country.

Overall, the polling in Lahore city was peaceful and no loss of life or serious injury was reported but in some areas, few incidents of confrontation and scuffle took place outside some of the polling stations of PP-158 and 167, 168 between the PTI and the PML-N workers.

Pakistan Tehreek Insaf leaders like Jamshaid Iqbal Cheema, Shahbaz Gill, Fawad Chaudhry, Shafqat Mehmood, Mehmoodur Rashid and Musarrat Cheema were all continuously making rounds at different polling stations to see if the polling was being done smoothly or not. Surprisingly, the PML-N mainstream leadership of Lahore was missing today and they were almost nowhere to be seen.

A fight broke out between the PTI and the PML-N workers outside the polling station of PP-158 in which a PML-N worker sustained injury. After the fight, the leadership of both the PML-N and the PTI reached the spot at polling station No. 41 PP-158 and started hurling accusations against each other.

Talking to the media, the victim accused Jamshed Iqbal Cheema that the PTI workers attacked him on his directions. Responding to the allegations made by PML-N worker’s Cheema told The Nation that he did not ask anyone to attack the PML-N workers. Cheems said he strongly condemned these actions carried out by the workers of both the parties. One of the PTI worker was taken into custody by the police and was transferred to the concerned police station after brawl between the supporters of both the parties.

PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood while talking to media in PP-158 said that all the state institutions had become accomplice of the government in this election and the Election Commission of Pakistan deliberately allotted election symbols similar to the PTI’s election symbols to the candidates. Jamshed Iqbal Cheema alleged that police and PML-N workers were harassing their voters and supporters.

Meanwhile in PP-158, PTI’s elected councilor Nadeem Shaukat from Qurban Lines was arrested by the police. PTI alleged that the police were harassing and arresting their workers to pave way of victory for the PML-N. Workers of the PTI and the PML-N clashed at the PP-158 polling station no. 35, Dharampura. The altercation broke out when the polling agent was prevented from entering the polling station. On the other hand, the polling process was stopped at the polling station of PP 168 at 10:52am due to a dispute. On the other hand in PP-168, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry’s car was attacked by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan workers and the back windshield of his car was shattered.

Speaking to The Nation in this regard, SP Cantt Essa Sukhera explained that the police were not helping anyone but were taking action according to the law.

The situation was comparatively better in the PP-158 polling station of Shah Jamal as people went to the polling station peacefully and cast their votes. Many people came with their families to cast their votes. Talking to The Nation, a young man at the Shah Jamal polling station said that his vote had been transferred elsewhere. Few days ago, when he checked his vote, he received a message on his mobile phone that his vote was in Shah Jamal but when he came here to cast vote, he found that his name was not in the voter list and has been transferred elsewhere, he complained.

In polling station-87 of PP-168, an elderly citizen was also spotted complaining about the transfer of his vote as his entire family voted at another place. In PP-168, the vote of the family of a senior citizen was transferred elsewhere. The senior citizen further claimed 20 days ago, his and his family’s votes were present in the list but today the names have been transferred elsewhere whereas in the last election my entire family cast their vote in this very polling station. “I wanted to vote Imran Khan that’s why my vote was transferred to somewhere else,” he added.

Food was also arranged at the polling camps by the PTI, PML-N and other political parties for their workers and voters.