By-elections in the National Assembly constituency of NA-133 Lahore are being today (Sunday).
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said it had finalised arrangements to hold the by-polls in an impartial atmosphere. The polling started at 8am this morning and will continue till 5pm without any break.
The seat fell vacant after the death of PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik who had died of heart complications on October 11.
According to the Punjab election commission, there are 254 polling stations in the constituency, including 22 polling stations of A category, 198 of B category and 34 polling stations of C category. Of them, 199 polling stations have been declared sensitive. Around 200 separate polling stations have been set up for men and women and 54 mixed polling stations have also been set up.
The total number of voters in the NA-133 constituency is 440,485, including 233,585 male voters and 206,927 female voters.
After the PTI candidate went out of the election race, there were 11 candidates left, including PML-N’s Pervaiz Malik’s widow Shaista Pervaiz Malik and PPP’s Aslam Gill.
The PPP actively campaigned for the NA-133 by-election in Lahore, which is considered a stronghold of the rival PML-N, in the hopes of reviving the party in Punjab.
The PML-N has retained the seat thrice in the past with Pervaiz Malik winning it in 2018 with 89,699 votes, Waheed Alam Khan in 2013 with over 100,000 votes and Naseer Bhutta in 2008 with a margin of over 32,000 votes.
Ballot papers and other polling material have been handed over to the presiding officers for by-elections. Polling material, including ballot papers, is being delivered to the polling stations under the supervision of police and Rangers.
Presiding officers have been paid Rs6,000 each for a full day’s duty while assistant presiding officers and polling officers have been given Rs4,000 each.
The ECP directed each presiding officer to get snapshots of the original form 45 along with forensic details showing time and location and hand it over to the returning officer. The commission has asked presiding officers to keep their location service on, take a picture of form 45 and WhatsApp it to returning officers by taking polling agents on board.
In case of non-availability of internet, the presiding officer should personally hand over the original form 45.
The election commission has urged all presiding officers to save relevant details in their computer. Presiding officers will receive polling bags from the returning officer under the guard of police and Rangers.
In the meantime, the ECP has asked each candidate to ensure proper training of their polling agents. Candidates have also been asked to ensure that no polling agent could leave the polling station without receiving from 45. Each presiding officer is bound to provide the signed copy of form 45 to relevant polling agents at the polling station.
Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja inspected the distribution of polling material and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements.
CEC Raja said that all arrangements, including security, are complete. He also urged voters of the constituency to exercise their right to vote.
The election commission said it has assigned security duties to law enforcement agencies, including police and rangers.
The ECP said it has established a control room in the office of the Returning officer, which would continue working throughout the polling process until results are compiled.
The ECP has also established separate control rooms at provincial and central levels to register and resolve complaints. The control room will work from 7am in the morning till the compilation of results on polling day.
The central control room could be contacted on phone 051-9204402; Fax no 051-9204404 for registering complaints. The complaints could also be registered through Email:- [email protected]
A deputy commissioner and officers of police and Rangers will remain present to deal with any untoward incident.
The ECP also expressed hope that the voters would strictly follow the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).