Rawalpindi - The polling process in rural and urban areas of Rawalpindi district remained peaceful except a few incidents of firing, scuffling and altercation.

In rural areas, high turnout was witnessed and female voters thronged polling stations to cast their votes. The PML-N candidates remained present even inside the polling stations to convince the voters while violating the rules of the ECP.

Some 17,000 cops were deployed at 1762 polling stations in the district to maintain law and order. The cops were also assisted by personnel of Pakistan Rangers, Special Branch, QRF, ladies police, Elite Force and other law-enforcement agencies. Despite heavy deployment, incidents of firing were reported from three polling stations in Gulshanabad, Dhamial and Murree.

During a visit paid by this correspondent on polling stations at Dhamial Road, Chakri Road, Adiala village, Chakra, Chakri, Dhala, Khasala and Adiala Road, it was witnessed the polling process was  peaceful and great hustle and bustle was seen outside polling stations.

The voters in rural areas showed great interest in local government LG elections.

Sharing their views with this correspondent, the voters said that they would vote for the candidate who had ability to address their problems.

Though there were many contestants in the election run, the real competition was witnessed between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as both parties had fielded their heavy weight candidates for chairmen and vice chairmen of the UCs. In almost every UC, there was an independent candidate vying for the UC chairmanship.

Polling at some polling stations was started late than the schedule time because the female staff of the election commission reached late on the polling stations. Male staff, on the other hand, had to face problems at the polling stations where they had to stay at night. At some polling stations, there were no lady police creating problems for managing the female voters. While in Ranyal polling station, there was no table for presiding officer and other staff for facilitating the voters.

“In the absence of lady police, it is difficult for poling staff to discipline the voters and provide security to the staff,” said a female polling staff deputed at Government Girls Primary School Banda Nagiyal, in UC 86 Dhamial.

“I am too weak to walk but I requested my grandson to take me to polling station on stretcher as I want to poll my vote for the candidate of my own choice,” said 90-year-old Mukhtiar Bibi while talking to The Nation in a polling station.

The overall situation in the city remained peaceful but in few areas, the polling agents of the candidates complaint of rigging in the polling. The presiding officers of downtown areas said that the polling staff started their working at 7:30am but the first vote in their respective polling station was cast at 7:40am.