By-election underway in tight security for 41 seats in Pakistan

Polling in by-elections on 41 Provincial and National Assemblies seats is in progress country wide, with over 500 contenders in the fray. The polling started at 08-00 in the morning and will continue till 05.00 in the evening with no break.

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The seats include 15 of the National Assembly and 26 provincial assemblies for which around 8.5 million voters will cast their votes. The Election Commission has postponed election for NA-25 D.I Khan-cum-Tank, the home town of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, due to security issues. Over 7606 polling stations have been made in the by-polls. Of these‚ 3‚080 have been announced normal while 2‚686 ‘sensitive’ and 1‚840 ‘highly sensitive’.

The Commission has imposed ban on keeping cell phones at the time of polling votes in the by-polls and carrying arms. Presiding officials have been directed to make certain secrecy of the vote. Over 50,000 soldiers have been deployed outside and inside of highly sensitive polling stations. Commanding army officials deployed at the polling stations have been given powers of First Class Magistrate.

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