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Pakistan Bypolls for 21 national and provincial seats concludes

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HT Digital,

Islamabad, April 21: By-elections for 21 national and provincial seats concluded amidst the temporary suspension of cellular services in select districts of Punjab and Balochistan provinces, purportedly enacted to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process, as per Dawn’s report on Sunday.

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Voting took place for five seats in the National Assembly, twelve in the Punjab Assembly, two in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, and two in the Balochistan Assembly, as confirmed by the Election Commission of Pakistan. However, the by-elections occurred amidst incidents of violence and disruption in network services across polling stations.

In Sheikhupura’s PP-139 constituency, the polling process was briefly halted due to a firing incident at a polling station (Government Primary School Nizampura). The Punjab election commissioner’s office stated that after law enforcement intervened and controlled the situation, polling resumed.

In Lahore, a scuffle broke out between workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) coalition with those of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) regarding the setup of polling camps at polling station number 171 (Lahore College).

Police intervention resolved the dispute. Reports of confrontations between political leaders surfaced, with the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party’s (IPP’s) Shoaib Siddiqui noting a face-off in Union Council 184, while SIC’s Mian Shahzad Farooq claimed his party workers were being arrested in NA-119, and their polling agent was expelled from the returning officer’s office when filing a complaint.

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In Lahore, 24 superintendents, 45 senior deputy police officers (SDPOs), 168 inspectors, station house officers (SHOs), and investigation in-charges were deployed during the by-elections, with 195 pickets established at entry and exit points, and security maintained at high alert.

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