LAHORE: More than 8,000 police officials and hundreds of Pakistan Army and Rangers personnel provided security cover for by-elections in NA 122 on Sunday.
No major breach of law and order was reported. A few altercations were reported between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters in some areas.
Police said they had obtained undertakings from political party leaders for their cooperation in maintaining order. The district administration had banned exhibition of weapons under Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Capital City Police Officer Amin Wains and Operations DIG Haider Ashraf supervised security arrangements at the polling stations. The district police had established a monitoring cell at the DIG’s office. Aerial surveillance was also carried out. Commandoes from Quick Response Force and plainclothesmen had been deployed at all polling stations.
Nobody was allowed entry without checking within 100 metres of polling stations in accordance with the Election Commission of Pakistan directive. Police used barbed wires to demarcate the area and had set up walkthrough gates to frisk voters.
A voter had to pass four-tier security to cast his ballot.
Mujahid Force SP Karrar Hussain had led a flag march on Sunday. Apart from the constituency, police had tightened security at entrances to the city. Police said they had arrested more than a dozen suspects during a search operation launched on Saturday night.
Four people were injured in Basti Saidan Sharif and two in Rehmanpura during clashes between groups of PTI and PML-N supporters who threw chairs at each other. Similar skirmishes were reported at Sulemania School, Shah Jamal and Ichhra.
Aleem Khan, the PTI candidate, was leading a rally when the supporters from both parties hurled rocks at each other on Ferozepur Road near Muslim Town. They dispersed, however, when security forces arrived there.
A scuffle was reported between the political workers when a rally, led by PML-N’s Rana Mashhood, reached near Crown Cinema in Garhi Shahu.
Rescue 1122 and Edhi Foundation said they had been on alert to deal with any untoward situation. Rescue 1122 said they had deployed 13 ambulances and 18 fire tenders across the constituency. Edhi Foundation said it had deployed 100 paramedical staff and 40 ambulances at various places.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2015.