Voting for National Assembly constituency NA-149 Multan II went underway at around 9am on Thursday and is scheduled to continue till 5pm in the evening, a private news channel reported.
Backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), independent candidate Amir Dogar and veteran politician Javed Hashmi; supported by Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), are in a neck and neck competition while at least 16 other candidates are also competing for the NA seat which fell vacant after Hashmi resigned from the Parliament on September 2 and parted ways with PTI.
Pakistan People’s Party candidate Javed Siddiqui is also vying for the seat.
Nearly 341,000 voters are expected to exercise their right of vote at around 286 polling stations and 778 polling booths set up for the by-elections.
Dogar has expressed hopes of winning by a heavy margin. He has also alleged that official machinery is being used in the elections and that PML-N workers are distributing cash in some areas of NA-149 Multan II constituency. He added that he would present the evidence publicly.
A local news channel reported that Election Commission’s code of conduct was being violated by use of mobile phones at several polling stations.
Security has been beefed up across the district with Rangers deployed at around 80 polling stations declared sensitive and police personnel on duty at all other polling stations. Section-144, prohibiting public gatherings, has also been imposed in the district for today.
A scuffle between PTI and PML-N workers was reported in Abbas Pura polling station. Police personnel intervened in the situation and removed camps of both parties from the polling station which were in violation of the rule of erection of no election camps within 400 meters of a polling station.