BRISK polling under way at a women’s booth during the by-election for PS-35 in Larkana on Thursday.
By-poll for PS-35 in Larkana held peacefully amid tight security
By Our Correspondent
LARKANA: By-election for PS-35 (Larkana-I) was held in a peaceful manner on Thursday amid extraordinary security measures on all 118 polling stations which had been declared sensitive.
The seat which was won by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Haji Altaf Ilussain Unnar after defeating Su-hail Anwar Siyal fell vacant after the Sukkur election tribunal disqualified the winner on Feb 26, 2014.
A few days afterwards on March 8, Unnar died at the age of 55 from complications from a kidney transplantation and other serious ailments.
Interestingly, PPP has given the party ticket to the same Siyal who had taken Unnar to court over his win. Siyal is pitted against the late Unnar’s relative, Shafqat Ilussain Unnar, who is fighting the election as an independent candidate.
The administration had made extraordinary security arrangements to ensure peace during polls with
seven SSPs to supervise 5,000 policemen and 600 Rangers personnel deployed at the polling stations.
Policemen were posted inside the polling stations while Rangers men were deployed outside as polling continued under the scorching sun and insufficient facilities for voters.
At a polling station for women set up in government secondary school in Bakrani, the situation became tense briefly when SHO Khal-il Massan allegedly closed the main door of the school.
Independent candidate Shafqat Hussain Unnar rushed to the polling station and admonished the police official followed by a heavy contingent of police and Rangers who managed to avert a clash between charged supporters of PPP and the independent candidate who were raising slogans against each other.
MNA Ayaz Soomro who is also president of PPP’s Larkana chapter arrived there but during all this polling process stopped for a few moments and then continued uninterrupted. There are reports wom-
en voters of both candidates had in argument at Mud Baho polling station.
Mohammad Bakhsh Arejo, former district nazim of Larkana, complained about errors in voters lists and said they did not match with the Nadra’s entries. The votes of Areja town had been enlisted in the voters list of Baggi near Moen-jodaro, which would result in many precious votes lost, he said.
PPP’s Siyal also complained about flawed lists.
The polling staff posted at different polling stations said the voting trend was slow in the morning and picked up momentum towards the evening.
Polling at primary school Bakrani began at 8.30 am just half an hour late. At both the booths of the polling station, only 571 votes were polled out of 900 registered votes by 2.40pm.
At the government girls school Areja, only 503 votes were polled in two booths till 3pm where number of registered votes was 903. In a women’s polling station set up at the same school, 423 votes were
cast till 3.30 pm where registered voters numbered 900.
At the government high school Arejo (girls), some 297 votes were polled out of 603 till 3.20 pm, which spoke volumes for the dispirited voter turnout.
The constituency of PS-35 fell within three out of four talukas of Larkana district, therefore the polling stations were set up afar from each other.
Some were set up as far as kutcha areas and close to the boundary of Dadu district.
Polling at a polling station in Dinpur village was disturbed for a few minutes when former Senator Dr Safdar Abbasi objected to flaws in voter lists of the Election Commission and those of Nadra.
At Mian Ishaque Khoharo polling station, a former PPP MNA allegedly rebuked polling agents. Polling process at Jakhro polling station was also disturbed for a few moments.
According to unofficial and unconfirmed results, Mr Siyal has gotten a clear lead over his rival at 46 out of 118 polling stations.