PML-N, PTI workers clash at dozens of polling stations in Narowal

Published April 22, 2024
PML-N Ahsan Iqbal visits family of  Muhammad Yusuf. — X/betterpakistan
PML-N Ahsan Iqbal visits family of Muhammad Yusuf. — X/betterpakistan

NAROWAL: During the by-elections for PP 54 in Narowal on Sunday, one person died after being struck on the head with a stick in election-related violence. Clashes were reported between the workers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) at over two dozen polling stations.

The PML-N had fielded Ahmed Iqbal for the by-poll while Owais Qasim was backed by the Sunni Ittehad Council-PTI.

According to unofficial results of PP-54 by-poll, PML-N’s Iqbal won the seat with 60,351 votes, while PTI’s Awais Qasim stood runner-up with 46,686 votes.

Tensions triggered when disputes arose over alleged fake voting at polling stations in Village Jibal, Langrake, and Bahuwali, resulting in the suspension of the polling process.

In Village Rajian, party workers attacked each other with chemical sprays, slaps and punches. Police arrived at the polling station in Kotnaju following reports of violence and clashes outside the polling station. During physical brawl, 60-year-old Muhammad Yusuf succumbed to injuries sustained from a blow to his head with a stick.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development and General Secretary of PML-N Ahsan Iqbal condemned what he termed as PTI’s hooliganism, vowing justice for Yusuf, whom he described as a peace advocate.

Ahmed Iqbal, PML-N candidate, claimed that Yusuf was a party worker and targeted by PTI-affiliated workers. He said the perpetrators would be held accountable.

According to Muhammad Ashfaq, Zafarwal police inspector, they received a call on the helpline from Naseem Murtaza, reporting a seriously injured perosn arriving at Durman Town hospital during the altercation. Upon investigation, they found that the injured person had succumbed to their injuries.

Contrary to political claims, Mohammad Babar, a resident of Kotnajo, said that the incident was not politically motivated. He said that villagers were involved in typical village brawl, where Yusuf attempted to mediate and was hit in the head.

The police said they had taken three people into custody, although no formal FIR has been lodged yet pending a request from the deceased’s family.Malik Muhammad Khalil, deputy superintendent of police headquarters of Narowal, said that Muhammad Yusuf was killed by a stick on his head during a fight outside the Kotnaju polling station. He said that the police have arrested the accused involved in the incident.

Efforts to obtain comment from DPO Mohammad Naveed Malik and Deputy Commissioner Syed Hasan Raza (also returning officer) remained unanswered at the time of reporting.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2024

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