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Tuesday Dec 22, 2015

Polling concludes for by-election in NA-154 Lodhran

Polling concludes for by-election in NA-154 Lodhran
MULTAN/ISLAMABAD: Polling concluded for the National Assembly constituency NA-154 Lodhran-I on Wednesday.

While unconfirmed unofficial results have started pouring in Geo News will only start releasing the information once the embargoed period ends.

Polling started at 8:00 AM and was scheduled to continue until 5 in the evening without any interval.

Siddique Khan Baloch of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jahangir Khan Tareen of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are among the twenty contesting candidates.

The seat fell vacant after Baloch had been disqualified by an election tribunal on Aug 26 on a petition filed by Tareen, who had accused the former of possessing a fake educational degree and committing massive irregularities during the 2013 general elections.

The Supreme Court however set aside the tribunal’s decisions and ordered re-election, allowing Siddique Baloch to take part in the by-polls.

Total 303 polling stations have been set up for today's polls; out of which 34 polling stations are dedicated for male and 44 for female with 235 general polling stations for both male and female voters.

Strict security arrangements have been made to avoid any untoward incident. 47 polling stations have been declared most sensitive while 256 polling stations are slotted in the sensitive category.

The constituency holds about 419,182 registered voters; in which there are 228,870 male and 190,312 female voters.

Voters are not allowed to enter polling stations with mobile phones. A control room has been set up in the office of District Police Officer (DPO) to monitor personnel and tackle any emergency situation.

Personnel of district police and Pakistan Army are deployed at various polling stations to keep the election process peaceful.

1,200 Multan policemen leave for Lodhran

Around 1,200 police officials have also arrived in Lodhran from Multan to perform security duties during the NA-154 by-polls. The police officials were sent from police lines Multan to perform security duties at different polling stations, said a statement issued Tuesday.

Although 20 candidates are vying for the National Assembly seat but the major contest is expected between Siddique Khan Baloch of ruling PML-N, who won the 2013 elections in independent capacity, and PTI General Secretary Jahagir Tareen.

Here’s a look at the short profile of two contenders:

Siddique Khan Baloch

Baloch hails from a feudal/political family, which has been traditionally among the major political players of the area for decades. His maternal grandfather Noor Muhammad was elected member of Punjab Assembly in 1976 while his father Haji Jindwada Khan emerged victorious in the general elections of 1988 and 1990 for the same provincial seat.

Baloch family has tasted defeat only once in 1993.

Siddique Baloch won his first election in 1997 when he became Punjab MPA. He could not partake in the 2002 elections due to an embargo on non-graduates. However, he got his nephew Ijaz Baloch elected on PML-Q ticket as his sons did not reach the age of contesting polls.

In 2008, Siddique Baloch bagged the NA-154 seat on PML-Q ticket.

After developing differences with PML-Q and PML-N, Baloch contested the 2013 general elections for both NA-154 and PP-210 seats in individual capacity and came out victorious against Jahangir Tareen of PTI and Rafiuddin Bukhari of PML-N respectively.

He later joined the PML-N after being elected as an independent candidate during the 2013 polls.

Jahangir Tareen

Tareen, who started his political career from Rahim Yar Khan instead of his native town Lodhran on the advice of his brother-in-law Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmmod of PML-Functional, has served as an adviser to Punjab chief minister from 1997-1998.

After winning the NA-195 seat in the 2002 elections, he was given the portfolio of federal minister for industry and trade. Later on he left the PML-F after developing differences with Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood and joined Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 2012.

He contested the 2013 general elections from Lodhran on PTI ticket and lost to independent candidate Siddique Baloch.

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