PPP’s Abdul Qadir Mandokhel was leading the race in NA-249 by-election as counting was underway by the filing of this report on Thursday night. Unofficial results showed that PML-N’s Miftah Ismail was close behind Mandokhel. The polling process was conducted largely peacefully with no untoward incident taking place. Voter turnout, despite strict security arrangements, was reported to be low, perhaps due to Ramazan and the scorching heat. Amid polling during the day, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took strict notice of PTI lawmakers’ presence in the NA-249 constituency and directed them to leave. According to details, six PTI MPs Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Raja Azhar, Saeed Afridi, Bilal Ghaffar, Shah Nawaz Jadoon and Shahzad Awan were found to be violating the code of conduct by being present in the constituency during polling hours. The ECP issued their expulsion orders, directing police to expel them from the constituency. Meanwhile, PPP raised the issue of the presence of PTI’s Saeed Afridi in the constituency by writing to the Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, requesting him to take action against the MPA who was campaigning for his party’s candidate. “It is obvious that PTI legislatures have made it a policy and a routine to violate election laws and their removal from the constituency is not producing any result. One goes and another enters,” PPP’s Taj Haider wrote to the CEC. “We humbly request you to warn the party in this regard and take penal action under the law against those legislators who have violated Election Law.” Haider also wrote to the CEC to complain about PTI lawmaker Awan’s presence inside the constituency. As counting of votes gained momentum at night with results starting to roll in quickly, reports of a brawl between workers of the ruling PTI and the banned TLP emerged. The workers reportedly threw chairs at each other, during a clash outside the PTI election office. Some reports and footage of a confrontation between PTI and PML-N workers also emerged amid the counting of votes. Later in the night, despite counting underway in more than half of the polling stations, PTI workers were reported to have wrapped up their belongings and left the election office. Earlier in the evening, when results started rolling in and Miftah Ismail took the lead, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz claimed that the “masses know who exactly is responsible for their troubles and woes”. “I have said it earlier and I will say it again, Imran Khan and PTI will not be able to campaign and if they do, this is how they will be welcomed,” Maryam commented. Her remarks were in response to a video showing PTI candidate for NA-249 Amjad Afridi being heckled by voters of the constituency. Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan noted that during polling, election rules had been violated and wrote a letter to the district administration. It said two Sindh government vehicles were seen roaming the streets with a party flag which is in open contravention to ECP’s Election Rules para 30. The deputy commissioner of Keamari District was tasked with probing the matter and submitting a report. Earlier in the day, the provincial election commission turned down PML-N leader Miftah Ismail’s request to extend polling hours, said sources. The body was unable to find any solid reason to extend polling hours beyond 5pm.