Voting in Hyderabad, other areas hit by sporadic violence

Published February 9, 2024
PEOPLE gather outside a polling station in Paretabad after a clash between workers of rival political parties on Thursday.—Umair Ali
PEOPLE gather outside a polling station in Paretabad after a clash between workers of rival political parties on Thursday.—Umair Ali

HYDERABAD: Polling remained largely peaceful though it was marred by inadequate arrangements, late arrival of polling staff, mismanagement, complaints of rigging and violence in Hyderabad and other districts in which 20 persons, among them two presiding officers, suffered injuries.

Polling started on time at almost all polling stations with a few exceptions.

Polling for NA-220 Hyderabad city was delayed considerably due to returning officer’s sudden ailment, which caused delay in dispatch of polling material.

At a women’s polling station for PS-65 set up in Mono Technical Institute, Paretabad, presiding officer and other polling personnel were flabbergasted to handle flood of women voters. Staff at a female polling station had not arrived by 2pm.

Five youths suffered minor injuries in a clash between Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activists at a polling station in government hospital, Paretabad.

In another incident, PPP activists resorted to aerial firing at a polling station in St Bonaventure Boys High School, leading to skirmishes between workers of the two sides. Polling was suspended for some time due to disturbances.

Ballot papers found on street

Ballot papers of NA-220 issued for polling station in Shahwani school were found on the street in Fakir ka Pir area amid accusations MQM candidate Wasim Hussain had forcibly taken away the ballots. Hussain was not available for comments.

Polling had to be suspended at a combined polling station for PS-62 in Kohsar phase-I Latifabad following a clash between MQM and PPP workers.

Rizwan Jatoi, secretary of independent candidate for PS-79, Malik Changez, suffered serious injuries in a clash with supporters of PPP’s Sikandar Khan in New Labour colony high school polling station.

Polling in Badin district started quite late at several polling stations where 300 ballot papers were found missing. Voting started five hours late at polling stations in district council. GDA’s Hassam Mirza and PPP’s Taj Mallah traded hot words over missing ballots.

Polling remained peaceful in Tando Mohammad Khan and Tando Allahyar districts barring a few incidents of altercation and scuffles.

Thirteen people, among them a presiding officer, suffered injuries in clashes between workers of PPP, PTI and GDA at polling stations for PS-83 (Johi), PS-81 (Mehar), PS-83 (Dadu) and PS-78 (Kotri) in Dadu and Jamshoro districts, according to police officials.

Ali Hassan Panhwar, a presiding officer at a polling station for PS-45 in Iqra Adil primary school in Mirpurkhas was injured in armed attack by independent candidate Salamat Lakho and his supporters.

Aqeel Ahmed, a PTI supporter, complained to media persons that they were not allowed to set up camps near polling stations and presiding officers pushed out their agents from 15 polling stations probably to ‘commit rigging’.

In Thatta and Sujawal districts, voter turnout remained on the lower side and polling remained largely peaceful. The voting started belatedly in Jhimpir, Ketibandar and Jherruck areas.

Zardari, Aseefa cast vote

In Nawabshah, former president of the country and co-chairman of PPP, Asif Ali Zardari, and his daughter Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari cast their votes at a polling station in LBOD Colony.

Mr Zardari said while replying to reporters’ questions outside the polling station that his party was going to win elections. Later, he left for Islamabad.

As many as 12 people were injured in clashes between PPP and GDA supporters in Sanghar. PPP and GDA workers also fought in Moro and Darya Khan Marri in Naushahro Feroze district although the polling process largely remained peaceful in Nawabshah, Sanghar and Naushahro Feroze districts.

In Sukkur, Jacobabad, Kashmore-Kandhkot and Ghotki districts, voting remained mostly peaceful except a few incidents of altercation between workers of contesting candidates.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2024

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