TOBA TEK SINGH: Chaos was witnessed at some polling stations in the by-elections on three Punjab Assembly seats -- Faisalabad’s PP-97 constituency and PP-125 and 127 in Jhang.

A scuffle took place between PTI and PML-N activists at polling station No 72 of PP-97 located in Chak 106-GB when PML-N candidate Ajmal Cheema’s polling agent forcibly entered the booth, snatched the ballot paper from a voter and tore it down for putting stamp in favour of PTI candidate Ali Afzal Sahi. The supporters of both parties attacked each other and polling was stopped.

Additional police force and Rangers reached the polling station and controlled the situation after which the process resumed. Officials arrested PML-N activist Puppo Gujjar.

In Jhang, the staff deployed at the polling station No 113 in PP-127 delayed voting for two hours as they allegedly forgot to bring the ballot paper stamps for voting process. The stamps were supplied to the staff after the voters protested against negligence.

At the polling station No 126 of Jhang’s PP-125 constituency in Athara Hazari area, more than a dozen activists of PTI and PML-N were injured in an attack on each other over rigging allegations levelled by the PTI polling agents. Polling was stopped and police had to resort to aerial firing to control the situation. Police and Rangers arrested some of the troublemakers.

Polling was twice suspended at the polling station No 1 in women’s booth in Jhang’s PP-127 constituency area of Mai Heer Stadium after dispute between agents of PTI and PML-N candidates. Fervour was seen at the same polling station where 76-year-old visually-challenged woman, Kishwer Bibi, came to cast her vote.

Similarly, a nonagenarian woman, Hakim Bibi, along with her family, cast vote at the polling station No 95 of Chak Chandian Talawan in PP-97, Faisalabad.

A scuffle took place between the agents of PTI and PML-N and staff of the polling station of Chak Dhanola at polling booths 151 and 152 in PP-97 over getting signature of PTI agents on Form No 45 much before the closure of the polling time. PTI MPA Akhtar Ali reached there and protested that the form had been signed at 4pm at both polling stations.

A clash took place between PTI and PML-N activists at the polling station No 47 (PP-97 -- Faisalabad) and two PTI activists were injured after the polling. PML-N MPA Rana Shoaib Idrees reached there and PTI supporters besieged his vehicle, which resulted in a clash.

The city police officer suspended two constables from service for negligence they committed during election duty at the Chak 188-RB , Nallaywala, polling station in PP-97 constituency. CPO Ali Nasir Rizwi during a visit found ASI Mubashar and constable Irfan using mobile phones.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2022

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