LODHRAN – Polling for the national assembly seat (NA-154) in Lodhran started Monday morning, with constituents set to decide the fate of Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the wake of disqualification of party leader Jahangir Tareen.
Around 4,000 security personnel, including army officials, have been deployed in the constituency in order to prevent any untoward situation and to ensure free and fair conduct.
A tough contest is expected among PPP candidate Mirza Muhammad Ali Baig, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Ali Khan Tareen and PML-N’s candidate Muhammad Iqbal Shah.
Moreover, there are seven independent candidates.
The Lodhran by-poll is being seen as a litmus test for the PTI in the build-up to the upcoming general elections scheduled this year around August.
The NA seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court disqualified the PTI leader under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution on December 15.
He was de-seated for deliberately submitting a false statement in the Supreme Court to conceal his property in the United Kingdom.
According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 328 polling stations have been set up in the constituency for 431,002 registered voters.
As many as 338 presiding officers and 1,043 presiding officers will perform duties on 1,043 polling booths.
In the 2015 by-polls, Jahangir Tareen had won the seat after defeating the PML-N’s Siddiqui Baloch with a margin of more than 35, 000 votes.
The Supreme Court had ordered re-election in the constituency after it found irregularities in 2013 elections.
ECP Fines PTI, PML-N’s candidates
The district monitoring officer has imposed a fine of Rs40,000 and Rs30,000 on Ali Tareen and Iqbal Shah respectively for breaching the code of conduct by running election campaign after the deadline.
Both candidates have been issued notices on the violations.