PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq faces off with PTI candidate Aleem Khan as Lahore votes
Voting began on Sunday in a closely contested by-election in Lahore’s NA-122 and PP-147 constituencies, and Okara’s NA-144 seat.
The race for the parliamentary seat in Lahore pits the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) against the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Read: Who will clinch NA-122? Lahore decides today
PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq faces off with PTI candidate Aleem Khan in the NA-122 constituency of Lahore.
There are some 347,762 registered voters in the constituency and balloting is expected to continue uninterrupted till
5pm. As many as 5,000 policemen have been deployed at different polling stations to ensure trouble-free polling. They are assisted by 2,915 army troops.
25 of 210 polling stations in NA-144 declared sensitive
Of 210 polling stations in NA-144, 25 have been declared sensitive.
At least four soldiers are deployed in each polling station while CCTV cameras have also been installed.
In NA-144, PML-N’s Ali Arif Chaudhry, PTI’s Ashraf Sohna and an independent candidate, Riazul Haq, are contesting.
Scuffle breaks out between PTI, PML-N supporters
A scuffle broke out between supporters of PML-N and PTI in Basti Saidan of Lahore, Express News reported.
Activists of both the parties traded blows and uprooted each other’s political camps. However, the situation was soon brought under control as Pakistan Army soldiers reached the spot and appeased political workers from both sides.
The scuffle between the PML-N and PTI activists occurred at polling booths 89, 90, 91, 92 and 95; however, the polling process continued without any hindrance.
I am positive that I will win: Aleem Khan
PTI candidate for NA-122 Aleem Khan said he has asked his voters to use PML-N’s transportation to get to their polling booths but to vote with their conscience.
I have told my voters use N leagues transportation to get to your polling booths if you must but vote with your conscience @aleemkhan_pti
— PTI (@PTIofficial) October 11, 2015
“People are fed up by the PML-N’s empty slogans,” said PTI’s Aleem Khan. “I am positive that I will win,” he said, according to Reuters.
Further, the PTI candidate and party leader Jehangir Tareen said appropriate security arrangements have been taken for polling.
Imran Khan destined to lose: Ayaz Sadiq
PML-N candidate Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan is destined to lose in the elections.
“I pray that Imran learns to respect others,” the PML-N leader said, after casting his vote in Shaikh Sardar High School in Garhi Shahu area. He claimed his party will win the NA-122 by-poll.
Sadiq went on to say that his party activists have been advised to keep away from violence, adding that he will accept the result of the elections.
Further, Sadiq told Reuters that the race was a battle to “prove the very legitimacy of the 2013 election.”
Former Punjab governor claims CCTV cameras not working
Former Punjab governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar accused PML-N of using state machinery in the campaign for NA-122 by-elections, Express News reported.
Sarwar claimed that CCTV cameras installed at polling stations were not functional.
“I am concerned. We were told that cameras inside the polling stations will be working but they are not,” he said.
PTI vs PML-N
A vociferous election campaign for NA-122 (Lahore V) marked by verbal duels between leaders of the ruling party and a leading opposition group ended on the night between Friday and Saturday, but the two sides took to social media to lure in voters hours before polling.
Read: NA-122 by-election: Imran warns ruling party against rigging
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate, had won the seat by defeating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan in the 2013 parliamentary election. Imran, however, challenged Sadiq’s election, alleging electoral fraud in the constituency. After a marathon legal battle, Imran won the case when an election tribunal unseated Sadiq after finding irregularities in his election. On Sunday, Sadiq, who is hoping to regain the office of speaker National Assembly, will face Aleem Khan of PTI in a hotly contested by-election.