LAHORE: Though the voting process largely remained peaceful in 14 districts of Punjab, a 12-year-old boy, stated to be a PML-N supporter, was killed in a clash in Sheikhupura on Sunday evening while, earlier in the day, police arrested PTI leader Shahbaz Gill along with some armed men from Muzaffargarh for violating code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The police arrested him on the directions of the ECP for keeping armed guards with him in sheer violation of the section 144 imposed by the Punjab home department to display weapons during the by-polls in the province. He was later confined to a lockup in Alipur

Punjab Home Minister Atta Tarrar confirmed the arrest of PTI spokesperson Shahbaz Gill for keeping armed guards with him during the provincial by-polls.

In Sheikhupura, PML-N supporter Faizan was allegedly shot dead and PTI worker Maqbool injured in an armed clash between rival political parties in Chandni Chowk.

Shahbaz Gill arrested on ECP’s directions for keeping armed guards with him in violation of Section 144

Responding to the situation, a heavy contingent of the police rushed to the site and made massive deployment of armed personnel to defuse tensions. Police said raids were being conducted to arrest two suspects.

Another incident occurred in the constituency of PP-168 in Lahore when some workers/activists of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) attacked the vehicle of former information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday.

PTI Central Punjab Information Secretary Musarat Jamshed told media that the incident occurred when Fawad was visiting the polling stations to inspect the polling process along with former finance minister Shaukat Tareen.

She alleged that attackers broke the window shields of Fawad’s vehicle who luckily remained unhurt.

Scuffles also broke out between political workers outside a polling station in the PP-158 constituency of Lahore.

Following this, the ECP issued directives to the district returning officer (DRO) to inspect the location and receive a briefing from security officials when PTI workers claimed that they were not allowed to enter the polling station.

Lahore police arrested PTI worker Rana Naeem for causing a head injury to a PML-N worker at the irrigation canal polling station.

Punjab Home Minister and Spokesperson for Punjab government Attaullah Tarar alleged that PTI’s leader Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and Saeed Mahis had seriously injured a PML-N worker in the clash which occurred in constituency PP-158.

Another clash erupted between voters of PTI and PML-N in the PP-168 constituency of Lahore when PTI voters alleged that PML-N men were creating issues inside the polling station.

PML-N candidate from PP-168 Asad Khokhar reached the spot and alleged that his voters reacted when PTI men were paying Rs2000 per vote.

Punjab police had deployed over 52,000 force in 14 districts of Punjab in addition to the deployment of armed personnel of Rangers, Pakistan Army and Frontier Constabulary.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2022

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