PESHAWAR: Voting for the by-poll in the National Assembly constituency NA-4, Peshawar, has ended and counting of ballots was underway.
According to reports, the polling remained peaceful throughout the day which began at 08:00am and continued till 05:00pm without any break.
The local district administration has announced a public holiday in the constituency today.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 100 polling booths are using the EVMs alongside the manual voting process.
Six political and eight independent candidates are vying for the MNA slot; they include PTI’s Arbab Amir Ayub, Asad Gulzar — late incumbent Gulzar Khan’s son — for Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Awami National Party’s (ANP) Khushdil Khan, Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Wisal Farooq, Tehreek-e-Labaik’s Allama Shafiq Amini, and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Nasir Khan Moosa Zai.
Apart from 1,400 army personnel, around 4,500 police officials were stationed for security in and around the polling stations.
The seat had fallen vacant owing to the death of PTI’s dissident MNA Gulzar Khan. The month-long election campaign came to an end Tuesday night with the 14 candidates and their supporters using every means to seek votes. It is generally believed that the real contest would be among PTI’s Arbab Amir Ayub, PML-N candidate Nasir Khan Musazai and Khushdil Khan of ANP.
The three candidates have certain strong points in their favour that gave them an edge over their other rivals. Arbab Amir despite being a newcomer in the PTI has the full support of the ruling party in the province.
His elder brother Abab Mohammad Zahir remained three-time MNA and two-time member provincial assembly from the same constituency from the platform of ANP. His family enjoys good influence in the area.
Nasir Musazai as the nominee of the PML-N has the backing of the federal government. He got support of good number of people in the constituency by carrying out development projects, especially in supplying gas and electrification with the support of PML-N provincial head Amir Muqam. He was the runner-up during the previous general election and had bagged over 20,000 votes against Gulzar Khan.
ANP’s Khushdil Khan enjoys good reputation in the area. He served as deputy speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in the previous ANP-PPP coalition government. The ANP has deep roots and solid vote-bank in the constituency and ran a very vigorous election campaign.
Two independent candidates backed by Milli Muslim League (MML), Liaqat Ali Khan, and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s Shafiq Amini are also trying their luck on the seat. However, they have no chance of victory.
The other independent candidates include Amanullah Khan Afridi, Mubashir Khan, Samiullah Khan, Shaukat Khan Mohmand, Farhan Qadeer, Muhammad Tanvir and Maulana Waheed Alam.
The Election Commission in a statement said that a total of 3, 97, 904 voters, including 1,62,740 women voters would exercise their right of franchise in the by-polls.