KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President and former Prime Minister Imran Khan stayed comfortably ahead of his rivals in the by-election on NA-239 (Korangi-I) constituency of Karachi, while the candidate of the Party of People of Pakistan (PPP) Abdul Hakeem Baloch beat him to win NA-237 (Malir-II) – a constituency marred by clashes and rigging allegations on Sunday.

According to unconfirmed unofficial results received from 88% of NA-239 polling stations, PTI Chairman Imran Khan was in the lead with 44,103 votes, followed by MQM’s Syed Nayyar Raza who only got 14 646 votes.

However, in constituency NA-237, PPP candidate Abdul Hakeem Baloch was in the lead, securing 32,567 votes after receiving results from 194 polling stations, followed by Imran Khan with 22,493 votes. The provincial ECP became aware of the rigging reported at polling station 108 of NA-237. The incident came to light when a video, apparently of President Mazhar Bhatti, emerged and went viral on social media in which he can be seen saying that unidentified men stormed into the office at lunchtime, snatched ballots from staff and began stamping them.

The election was marred by clashes in Malir constituency; however, the electoral process remained peaceful in Korangi as no untoward incidents were reported in this constituency.

Karachi PTI branch chairman Bilal Ghaffar was injured by unidentified people in Bakra Piri area while visiting polling stations with local party leaders. PTI leaders, including former governor Sindh Imran Ismail and Ali Zaidi, accused the PPP of being responsible for the attack.

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PTI workers and supporters at polling stations in Malir said the PPP was trying to rig the election – an allegation the PPP denies.

Ali Zaidi took to Twitter alleging, “PPP goons attacked Karachi MPA Chairman Bilal Ghaffar. He was taken to hospital with bone and head injuries. Criminals rule Sindh.

He said: “I have just been informed that the attacker was PPP MPA Saleem Baloch and Salman Murad. Former judge Rana Zaki Shamsi, a member of the PTI, was with MPA Bilal Ghaffar and was also physically assaulted and attacked. They fear defeat and return to violence.

On the other hand, PPP leader and Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon accused a “PTI activist, Ghohar Khattak, of roaming the polling stations with criminals and weapons”.

In a tweet, Memon said that AMPs and PTI MPs are illegally going to all polling stations and threatening the presidents, while the ECP takes no action from the PTI.

No less than 22 aspirants have been lined up for NA-239, including PTI President Imran Khan, Nayyar Raza of MQM-P and Muhammad Yasin of TLP.

PTI President Imran Khan, Nayyar Raza of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) and Muhammad Yasin of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) were among the leading candidates in this constituency.

The other NA 237 constituency, the leader of the PTI and Abdul Hakeem Baloch of the PPP were the most prominent.

About 7,000 police in addition to paramilitary rangers were performing security duties to organize peaceful elections in the city. Rapid Response Force teams of Police and Rangers were also deployed to sensitive polling stations to deal with any untoward incidents.

According to the details, a total of 8,78,587 voters are registered in the two constituencies. The Election Commission of Pakistan has delegated more than 5,000 election workers. No less than 332 polling stations were declared very sensitive and 2020 sensitive.

A total of 22 candidates from different parties were running in the NA 239 constituency. No less than 5,81,888 voters were able to exercise their right to vote in the constituency. 430 polling stations and 1,360 voting booths were set up to conduct the voting process in a transparent manner.

While 11 candidates contested in the NA-237 constituency, which has 2,94,699 registered voters. The ECP established 194 polling stations and 748 booths.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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