Vote count underway in PS-11; polling agent submits report of PPP leaders’ visits to DIG

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Voters headed to the polls for the PS-11 Larkana by-elections on Thursday while a detailed report was submitted to the deputy inspector general (DIG) for Larkana regarding PPP leaders’ visits to the polling stations.

Polling ended at 5pm and the counting of votes is now underway.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had announced by-elections in the PS-11 Larkana-II constituency after the de-seating of MPA Moazzam Abbasi of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) by the Supreme Court in August.

During the voting process today, PPP politicians MNA Khursheed Junejo, Burhan Chandio and Sohail Anwar Siyal visited polling stations — which the district returning officer (DRO) said was in violation of rules.

The DRO submitted a detailed order to the DIG regarding their visits. Additionally, the ECP monitoring team reported their visits and said that they were obstructing the polling process by doing so.

According to PPP spokesperson, Junejo visited polling station number 86 for three minutes to discuss a personal matter with a party worker.

Meanwhile, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Twitter: “The same election commission that unnecessarily deploys military troops inside every polling station wants to stop elected representatives from visiting constituency on polling day.”

In his tweet, which did not mention the Larkana by-polls, he alleged it was a “blatant attempt to deprive PPP of an equal playing field”.

In a subsequent tweet, he said: “Only way to supervise and counter rigging attempts by the establishment is for elected members to carry out their democratic & constitutional rights. Any unconstitutional and illegal dictation must be resisted by democratic forces.”

Earlier this week, the PPP chairperson and other party leaders were issued show-cause notice by the ECP for allegedly violating its code of conduct by visiting the provincial assembly constituency ahead of the by-election.

By-elections called in PS-11

GDA’s Abbasi had won PS-11 in July 2018 after defeating Nida Khuhro, daughter of PPP’s seasoned politician and president of Sindh PPP Nisar Ahmed Khuhro when her father was disqualified from contesting elections after Abbasi challenged his papers before ECP.

The ECP declared Abbasi as the winner in its notification issued on August 10, 2018. He had secured 32,206 votes while Nida had obtained 21,825 votes. She then challenged his victory in the election tribunal within days which upheld Abbasi’s victory. She later took her case to the Supreme Court, which passed the verdict in her case on Aug 22.

GDA’s Abbasi was de-seated and the apex court asked the ECP to hold by-elections in PS-11. Subsequently, the ECP announced Oct 17 (today) as the election date.

Published in Dawn