Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate Shaukat Yousafzai has secured a considerable lead in the by-polls held in Shangla's PK-23 constituency on Monday, DawnNewsTV reported.
According to the unofficial and unconfirmed results from all 135 polling stations in the constituency, Yousafzai has reportedly secured 39,290 votes as compared to the 22,545 votes bagged by PML-N candidate Mohammad Rashad Khan.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had ordered by-polls in Shangla's PK-23 constituency after the results of July 25 general elections were declared null and void due to low female voter turnout.
Shaukat Yousafzai had won the PK-23 Shangla-I provincial seat in the general elections, only to see his victory voided as the women voter turnout was less than the ECP-mandated 10 per cent of total votes polled.
PTI's Yousufzai contested the by-polls with the support of the Awami National Party (ANP), PPP and the Gujjar Biradari. In the opposite corner stood former PML-N MPA Rashad Khan, who had the support of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal as well as a faction of the ANP.
The ECP claims that in order to ensure the result of today's by-poll does not meet the same fate, the contesting candidates have taken certain measures, including announcements at mosques, to draw a larger number of women to polling stations.
The ECP has also deployed female security staff for the by-election and made special arrangements to facilitate women voters, including arranging conveyance and assigning separate entrances.
The election watchdog claims the measures have been successful, as more women appear to be casting their votes today, but locals in PK-23 have observed low women voter turnout yet again.
Of the 135 designated polling stations in today's by-poll, 25 and 21 were men and women-only respectively, whereas 89 were open to both genders.
The total number of registered voters in the constituency is 200,555 — 86,728 female voters and 113,827 male. The total number of votes polled in the July 25 election came to 69,827, of which 3,500 ─ or just 5.01pc ─ were votes cast by women.