CHAKWAL: Polling in the city started at 8am on Tuesday (today) for the by-election in the PP-20 constituency, after the seat was left vacant following the death of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA Liaquat Ali Khan.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Raja Tariq Afzal and PML-N’s Haider Sultan Ali, Liaquat’s son, are competing to win the seat.
The by-election is a test for the ruling party as the constituency has long been a PML-N stronghold and is expected to serve as a curtain-raiser for the general elections this year.
Though this is Sultan’s first attempt at a provincial assembly seat, his family has held the PP-20 seat since 1985, losing it only once in the 2002 elections. Meanwhile, PTI’s Afzal is contesting an MPA seat for the first time but he is supported by the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Awami Tehreek.
The constituency’s 279,530 voters will exercise their right to cast the ballot till 5pm, for which 227 polling stations have been set up.
In a talk with the media, DPO Haroon Joya said over 1,200 police personnel have been deployed for security duty, with officials of Rangers on standby.
He added that 51 polling stations have been declared sensitive.
Rangers and police have been deployed at the polling stations to ensure security.
Previously, the Election Commission of Pakistan had issued a notice to Sultan for holding a public gathering after the end of the election campaign in violation of ECP rules.
Heads of both PTI and PML-N held rallies in the city ahead of the by-poll.
PTI chief Imran Khan addressed a rally on January 6 while PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif addressed a gathering of tribal elders in Chakwal on January 8.