The counting of votes continues across the 254 polling stations in the NA-133 constituency, considered a stronghold of the PML-N, where a by-election was held today and where the PML-N looks to retain the seat for the fourth time.
The polling started at 8am this morning and continued till 5pm without any break after which the gates to the polling stations were closed off to any more voters. amid the chilly weather in Lahore, the voter response to the by-poll remained rather ‘cool’.
Polling stations saw a vote or two cast in the morning hours which increased to a few more by the afternoon. When time for polling to end began to draw close, voter participation improved slightly.
Unofficial, preliminary results obtained by Geo News for 164 polling stations show PML-N’s Shaista Pervaiz Malik in the lead with 32,226 votes.
PPP’s Aslam Gill is in second place with 20,335 votes.
The NA-133 seat fell vacant after the death of PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik who 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 these, 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, of which 233,585 are male voters and 206,927 female voters.
Candidates vying for seat
There were 11 candidates contesting the polls, including the former seat holder’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.
After the Election Commission of Pakistan rejected the nomination papers of PTI candidate Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and his covering candidate, his wife Mussarat Cheema, no PTI candidate is in the race.