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KARACHI: Counting was under way in a closely-contested NA-249 by-election in Karachi which was held yesterday in the city's District West, with early vote count showing a close contest between the candidates of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

PPP's Abdul Qadir Mandokhel was leading the race with PML-N's Miftah Ismail close behind till the filing of the report.

The political analysts said that the voter turnout remained low primarily due to holy Ramadan and the scorching heat.

The polling process was largely conducted peacefully with no untoward incident was reported from all 276 polling stations. However, the political opponents accused each other for defying election rules and influencing voters at some polling stations.

Some 92 polling stations were declared sensitive, and 184 highly sensitive. 76 polling stations were set up for men, and 61 for women.

Provincial election commissioner Ijaz Chauhan paid visit to various polling stations in the NA-249 constituency and expressed his satisfaction regarding implementation on Covid-19 SOPs.

Enhanced security arrangements were ensured by the government outside all polling stations. As per ECP statistics, the total registered voters in the constituency is 339,591, out of which 201,655 are male while 137,937 are female voters.

The constituency is home to ethnically diverse population which has been deprived of the fundamental rights including clean drinking water.

Government of Sindh has declared Thursday as Closed Holiday in the jurisdiction of the Constituency.

Last month, ECP announced reschedule for by-polls in NA-249 after PTI's Faisal Vawda resigned from the National Assembly seat after casting his vote in the Senate elections on March 3.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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