Voting for the NA-154 by-elections started in Lodhran on Monday morning. This is the third election being held for the seat in the past four years.
The NA-154 Lodhran seat had become vacant following the disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Jahangir Tareen.
PPP candidate Mirza Muhammad Ali Baig, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Ali Khan Tareen and PML-N’s Muhammad Iqbal Shah are in the running. Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan is supporting independent candidate Azhar Sandila. Six other candidates are also taking part in the polls, bringing the total number of candidates to 10.
A total of 388 poling stations and 1,043 polling booths have been set up to cater to the 431,000-strong population of the region. Army personnel have been deployed at every polling station on the Election Commission of Pakistan’s request.
The notable candidates
The by-poll sees the return of former federal minister Mirza Nasir Baig to the PPP who has fielded his son as the party candidate. He had earlier left the party before the 2015 by-polls and joined the PML-N.
Those interested in electoral science are curious to see if the PPP makes any difference in the constituency, which has been dominated by Baloch and Tareen since 2008.
Jahangir Tareen has fielded his son Ali Khan Tareen is PTI candidate, while Baloch’s son Umair Khan Baloch had also submitted his nomination papers but only to hold back as at a PML-N meeting held in Lahore two weeks ago, Baloch expressed his unwillingness to take part in the election because of its high cost.
The meeting was attended by MNA Hamza Shahbaz, MNA Abdul Rehman Kanju, MPA Ahmad Khan Baloch and MPA Amir Iqbal Shah.
The party refused to sponsor electioneering for his son and said he should bank on the mega projects initiated in his area as per the promise of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The argument could not convince Baloch and after his refusal, the party decided that Shah, the former tehsil nazim of Dunyapur and the father of MPA Amir Iqbal, will be the party candidate.
PML-N Lodhran president Tahir Amir Ghauri has opposed the party choice and said the party had become hostage to electable at the cost of loyal workers. While the PML-N was busy selecting the candidate, the