At least two people were killed and eight injured in a shooting incident between the supporters of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) during a by-election in Punjab province on Friday.
The by-poll to National Assembly seat NA-75 in Daska, over 80 kms from provincial capital Lahore, was held in a hostile environment.
Poor security arrangement at the polling stations was said to be the reason behind the clashes. Video footage showed the absence of police personnel during the fights.
The PTI and PML-N blamed each other for the violence.
The PTI-led Punjab government’s Special Assistant on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said the two killed men were PTI workers and that eight others were injured in the gun firing from the guards of the PML-N candidate.
She said the police will not spare the culprits, including the PML-N leaders who instigated the violence.
On the other hand, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Auranzeb said that one of its workers had died in the shooting from PTI men. She said four PML-N workers had suffered bullet injuries and their condition was “very serious”.
“An FIR should be registered against Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and IGP Inam Ghani for their failure to control law and order situation in the constituency.
In fact, Buzdar was keen to win the seat for his master (Prime Minister) Imran Khan and seeing his failure, he deliberately withdrew security outside the polling stations and let the PTI goons rampage there to stop the polling,” Auranzeb said.
The Opposition alleged that the PTI candidate backed by the whole government machinery tried to stop the PML-N voters from entering the polling stations to cast their votes.
Speaking to Dawn News, District Police Officer (DPO) Hassan Asad Alvi said one of the victims was from the PTI and the other from the PML-N.
He said the main suspect in the shooting is one ‘Javed’, who is believed to be a PML-N worker.
Meanwhile, PML-N vice president and deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz posted a video of her party’s supporters breaking doors of a polling station after they were allegedly made to wait outside for hours.
“PML-N voters in Daska lose patience, protest and break down doors of a polling station after being made to wait for hours as polling time draws to an end. Sharam kero (have shame),” she said in a tweet.
A massive police contingent was seen patrolling the polling stations and surrounding areas in the evening, according to the Dawn News report.
The by-elections in NA-75 was held after the seat fell vacant after the death of PML-N leader Sahibazada Syed Iftikharul Hassan Shah.
The by-election was also held in three other constituencies, namely PP-51 Gujranwala I, NA-45 Kurram I and PK-63 Nowshera III.