Peaceful Pakistan by-polls held under tight security

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Peaceful Pakistan by-polls held under tight security

Polling for 41 national and provincial assembly seats in the four provinces and Islamabad was held under tight security on Thursday.

By Faisal Aziz

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Published: Fri 23 Aug 2013, 11:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:15 PM

Polling was relatively peaceful except minor scuffles between supporters of political rivals reported from some constituencies.

The by-elections were held on 15 National Assembly seats and 26 provincial assemblies seats which were vacated by those members who had won more than one seats in the May 11 elections and on those seats where candidates had been killed or disqualified over fake education degrees.

The results will have no impact on the central or provincial governments in view of clear majority.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 519 candidates were in the run.

A woman casts her ballot in Islamabad on Thursday. — AP

In Karachi, candidates from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) looked to be winning the by-polls on two provincial and one National Assembly seats, early results showed.

More than 30,000 soldiers were deployed across the country to support the police and local administration, and voting was largely peaceful, though the turnout remained pretty thin.

In the NA-254 constituency, MQM’s candidate Mohammed Ali Rashid was leading in early results. The election on this seat was postponed after the candidate of the Awami National Party (ANP) was killed a week before the May 11 general elections.

Former Sindh home minister Rauf Siddiqui, again a candidate of the MQM, looked set to grab the seat from PS-103. The seat was won by MQM’s Sajid Qureshi in the May 11 elections but by-elections are being held as Qureshi was gunned down along with his son in his own constituency.

Mohammed Hussain of the MQM, who has previously won the PS-95 twice, was again leading his opponents on the seats where elections were not held on May 11 due to the killing of an independent candidate. The MQM, which won 18 out of 19 National Assembly seats in Karachi in the general elections, has not lost in any of these three seats since 1988 — that is the past five elections.

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