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QUETTA: Amid tight security polling was held in a by-election of the National Assembly constituency, NA-260, on Saturday without an untoward incident.

It is the largest constituency in the country in terms of area which comprises parts of Quetta, Chagai and Noshki districts.

“No untoward incident was reported from any area of the constituency,” spokesman for the Balochistan government Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar told Dawn.

The government had deployed heavy contingents of the Frontier Corps, police, Levies and Quick Response Force at all polling stations.

The Provincial Election Commission had deployed FC personnel in and outside all over 400 polling stations to ensure smooth polling. The army was on standby.

The polling started at 8am and continued till 6 pm without any break in Quetta, Kuchlak, Noshki, Chagai, Dalbandin, Nokundi and other areas.

The candidates belonging to the JUI-F, BNP-M, PkMAP, PPP, PTI and JUI-Nazaryati took part in the by-election.

“Polling remained peaceful and the law and order situation was under control, the Election Commission’s complaint centre was in contact with presiding officers and other staff,” Provincial Elec­tion Commissioner Moham­mad Naeem Majeed Jaffar told newsmen while visiting a polling station in Quetta.

He said a low turnout of female voters was observed at all polling stations because in by-elections women refrained from casting their vote.

Responding to a question about late arrival of polling staff, he said the commission had received a few complaints regarding shortage of polling material, but “we addressed them promptly”.

The turnout was very low in the first two hours at polling stations located on the outskirts of the Quetta city, but after 10am long queues were witnessed outside of the polling stations.

“The female voters’ turnout is low,” said Merajun Nisa, presiding officer at a polling station. “We are performing our duty despite absence of electricity and washrooms,” she said.

Meanwhile, BNP-M President Akhtar Mengal accused the government and FC personnel of preventing the voters of his party from casting their votes. In BNP-M stronghold of Sariab Road people were restrained from casting their votes by FC men, he alleged.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2017