ISLAMABAD: Over all polling for bye-elections of five National Assembly and twenty three Provincial Assemblies seats was conducted in a peaceful manner on Thursday. The five National Assembly constituencies where by-elections were held are NA-eleven Mardan-three; NA-52 Rawalpindi-III, NA-55 Rawalpindi-VI, NA-131 Sheikhupura-I and NA-147 Okara-V. The Supreme Court suspended bye-elections in NA-123 Lahore-VI from where Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was a candidate.
By-elections were held in twelve constituencies of the Punjab Assembly; seven of the NWFP, three of Balochistan and one constituency of Sindh Assembly. The turn out in the morning was slow but later on it gained momentum. Several people are reported to have been injured in a firing incident between two rival groups during the polling process at PP-219 Jehanian. There are also reports of some clashes between supporters of rival candidates in Charsadda and Bahawalnagar. However, overall situation of the polling in the country remained peaceful. To keep law and order intact Police made some arrests.
In this regard Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Kanwar Dilshad has said that the polling in all the 28 constituencies of National and Provincial Assemblies was held smoothly and not a single complaint has been lodged with the Election Commission about any irregularity. In an interview, he said a team of the Canadian High Commission visited polling stations in Rawalpindi while another team of US-AID visited Central Control Room of the Commission in Islamabad and appreciated the arrangements made for holding of by-elections.
He has said result of by-poll for National and Provincial Assemblies would be officially announced in two to three days. Talking to Pakistan Times he said that the announcement of the results will be postponed to two days as delay in out come of the polls results from certain areas in Balochistan are expected. He said that the elections results could be displayed at Mobile Phones as well. On disturbance during elections in certain areas he said that strong notice has been taken and grievances would be removed as per rules and regulations.
Punjab Government Thursday said the polls for by-elections were held in a free, fair and transparent environment. The team of Canadian observers also termed the by-elections as transparent and the independent media too witnessed no interference of the government in the polling process, Punjab government spokesman said. He said the government had taken strict note of a couple of unpleasant incidents and took action without any discrimination.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Thursday took serious notice of the armed clash occurred between the rival groups at a polling station in Jahania and directed the provincial Chief Secretary and IG police to take immediate action against those involved in the incident. Polling had been suspended at polling station number 10/110 R in PP-219 in Jahania after a severe clash and trade of fire between two rival groups that left several people killed. The clashes created panic among the voters. Police reached the scene after a long delay. Several people were arrested after the clash. However, taking advantage of chaos many armed men managed to flee