Karachi by-election: Polling underway for NA-249

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Karachi residents have started casting their votes to elect their representative from NA-249. The polling started at 8am and will continue till 5pm.

In a letter issued at 1:14pm, the electoral body instructed PTI MPA Raja Azhar to leave NA-245 for creating hurdles for voters and trying to influence their votes. The orders were issued by Regional Election Officer Nadeem Haider.

Around 12:25pm, the Election Commission of Pakistan ordered law enforcement agencies to escort PTI leaders Firdous Shamim Naqvi and Bilal Ghaffar out of NA-249 till the polling ends.

According to a letter sent by the regional election commissioner Nadeem Haider, MPA, MNA, ministers or other public officials of any political party are not allowed to visit the NA-249 constituency during the voting period.

On the other hand, PPP leader Qadir Khan Mandokhail accused the Pakistan Sarzameen Party of creating chaos outside polling stations. “They know they will lose,” he said, adding that PPP is confident of its win and celebrations will begin after 5pm.

MQM candidate Muhammad Mursaleen has blamed presiding officers of influencing votes. “I went to the polling station in UC30 where the presiding officer was telling people to vote for PPP,” he said. “I went there and expressed my concerns after which Rangers reached the site.”

At 10:45am, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers protested outside polling station no 132 in Baldia. PTI leader Amjad Afridi claimed that voters were stopped from entering the station.

A police team has reached the site to prevent any further chaos. According to reports, senior police officers are expected to visit the polling station later in the day.

At least 1,100 Rangers personnel and 2,800 policemen have been deployed to maintain the law and order situation during the polling.

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