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KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan remained comfortably ahead of his rival contestants in by-election on NA-239 (Korangi-I) Karachi constituency, whereas Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate Abdul Hakeem Baloch beat him and clinched NA-237 (Malir-II) – a constituency marred with clashes and rigging allegations on Sunday.

As per unofficial unconfirmed results received from 88 percent polling stations in NA-239, PTI Chairman Imran Khan was leading with securing 44,103 votes, followed by MQM’s Syed Nayyar Raza who bagged only 14,646 votes.

However, on NA-237 constituency, PPP candidate Abdul Hakeem Baloch was in lead securing 32,567 votes after receipt of results from all 194 polling stations, followed by Imran Khan with 22,493 votes. The provincial ECP took notice of the reported rigging at NA-237’s polling station 108. The incident came to light when a video, reportedly of Presiding Officer Mazhar Bhatti emerged and got viral on social media in which he can be watched as saying that some unidentified men barged into the polling station at lunch time, snatched ballot papers from the staff, and started stamping them.

The election was marred by clashes in Malir’s constituency; however, the election process remained peaceful in Korangi as no untoward incident was reported from this constituency.

PTI Karachi chapter President Bilal Ghaffar was injured by unknown persons in Bakra Piri area when he was visiting polling stations along with local party leaders. PTI leaders including the former governor Sindh Imran Ismail, and Ali Zaidi blamed the PPP for the assault.

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PTI workers and supporters present in Malir polling stations said that attempts were being made by PPP to rig the elections – an allegation denied the PPP.

Ali Zaidi took to twitter alleging: “PPP goons attacked Karachi President MPA Bilal Ghaffar. He has been taking to the hospital with bone and head injuries. Criminals are ruling Sindh.”

He said: “I have just been informed that the attacker was PPP MPA Saleem Baloch and Salman Murad. Former Justice Rana Zaki Shamsi who is a member of PTI was with MPA Bilal Ghaffar and was also physically assaulted and attacked. They fear defeat and are restoring to violence.”

On the other hand, PPP leader and Sindh information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon blamed that a ‘PTI activist Ghohar Khattak was roaming in polling stations along with criminals and weapons.’

In a tweet, Memon said that PTI MPAs and MNAs are illegally visiting every polling station, and they are threatening the presiding officers, while the ECP is not taking action from PTI.

As many as 22 aspirants were fielded for NA-239, including PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Nayyar Raza of the MQM-P and Muhammad Yasin of TLP.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Nayyar Raza of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) and Muhammad Yasin of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) were amongst the prominent candidates in this constituency.

The other constituency NA 237, PTI chief and the PPP’s Abdul Hakeem Baloch were the prominent ones.

Around 7000 policemen besides paramilitary rangers were performing security duties for conducting peaceful elections in the city. Quick response force teams of police and Rangers were also deployed at sensitive polling stations to deal with any untoward incident.

As per details, a total 8,78,587 voters are registered in both constituencies. The Election commission of Pakistan deputed over 5000 election staff. As many as 332 polling stations were declared highly sensitive and 2020 sensitive.

A total 22 candidates from different parties were in the race in NA 239 constituency. As many as 5,81,888 voters were eligible to exercise their right to vote in the constituency. 430 polling stations and 1,360 polling booths were set up to conduct polling process in a transparent manner.

While 11 candidates were contesting in NA-237 constituency, which has 2,94,699 registered voters. ECP established 194 polling stations and 748 polling booths.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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