KARACHI (Staff Report) –  Voting count is under way as polling for by-elections in four Provincial Assembly seats of Sindh PS-22, PS-106 and PS-117 ended here on Thursday.

The polling process started at 8:00am and will continue till 5:00pm without any formal break.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has extraordinary security arrangements to ensure peaceful elections. Special contingents of Pakistan Army and Sindh Rangers have also been deployed to assist Police in maintenance of law and order.

The three seats being contested, including two in Karachi, had become vacant after lawmakers from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Iftikhar Alam and Dr Sagheer Ahmed, resigned to join the Pak Sarzameen Party, led by former MQM leader Mustafa Kamal.

While there are 14 candidates in the running for Dr. Iftikhar Alam’s vacant seat, the main contest is likely to be between MQM candidate Mehfoozyar Khan, PPP’s Sardar Abdul Samad, PTI’s Nusrat Anwar, and Pasban’s Jawad Sheerazi.

The PS-117 seat, too, fell vacant when MQM lawmaker Dr Saghir Ahmad resigned to join the PSP.

There are 10 candidates in the running for Dr. Saghir Ahmad’s former seat. However, the main contest is likely to be between SM Qamar Abbas Rizvi of the MQM, Javed Maqbool Butt of the PPP, Rafaqat Umar of the PTI, Naeem Shah of the JUI-F and Zia-ur-Rahman of Pasban.

The PS-22 (Naushahro Feroze) seat had fallen vacant due to the unseating of Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Dr Abdul Sattar Rajpar. There are 98 polling stations in the constituency — 56 of which have been declared sensitive, 23 most sensitive and 19 normal.

While there are 30 candidates in the running for this seat, the main contest is likely to be among Abdul Sattar Rajpar of the PPP, Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Mohammad Qasim Solangi of the Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam-F, Shah Nawaz Larik of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Rana Aftab Ahmad of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Riaz Husain Rajpar of PPP-SB and Mohammad Aqib Rajpar of the Sindh United Party.