Voting in Pakistan's by-elections ends, counting starts

Islamabad, Aug 22 (IANS) Voting in Pakistan's by-elections ended Thursday afternoon and the authorities started counting the votes in the presence of polling agents of the candidates.

Except for minor scuffles reported between the supporters of political rivals at some constituencies, polling was relatively peaceful, Xinhua reported.

By-elections are being held for 41 seats - 15 National Assembly seats and 26 provincial assembly seats - across the country.

The results will have no impact on the central or provincial governments in view of clear majority of the ruling party.

Nearly 500 candidates representing different political parties were contesting the elections. Over eight million people were eligible to cast votes. However, the turnout was less than the May 11 elections.

The polling process began at 8 a.m. and continued till 5 p.m.

Troops were deployed at some sensitive polling stations to ensure security, election commission officials said.

There had been reports that women were barred from voting in some areas by political, religious leaders. Taliban's threats also affected women votes in one constituency in northwest Pakistan.

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