The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday retained the seat of Islamabad mayor, defeating the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the by-polls, according to unofficial results.
Pir Adil Shah Gillani, the PML-N candidate, defeated Malik Sajid Mahmood of the PTI for the coveted post. Gillani bagged 43 votes, while Mahmood could only secure 26 votes in the 73-member electoral college.
Independent candidate Azhar Mahmood was unable to get any vote. Mahmood also did not cast his vote.
The 73-member electoral-college also includes 50 UC chairmen and three deputy mayors.
The victory coincides with an ongoing protest movement launched by an 11-party opposition alliance – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – to oust the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
غربت، افلاس اور مہنگائی کے ہاتھوں تنگ ہیں عوام کے لیے پاکستان مسلم لیگ ن امید کی کرن ہے۔ تبدیلی کا ڈرامہ فلاپ ہونے کے بعد عوام اپنی خدمت کرنے والوں کو پہچان گئے ہیں۔ اسکی جھلک آج اسلام آباد میئر الیکشن میں مسلم لیگ ن کی کامیابی کے بعد قوم نے دیکھ لی ہے۔ الحمدُللّہ! 🐅🐅🐅— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) December 28, 2020
The new mayor will serve only for two months as the current local councils are going to complete their five-year terms by the end of February next year.
After being declared victorious, Gillani maintained that though the time was short he would serve to the best of his capacity.
The first ever local government election was held in Islamabad on November 30, 2015, in which the PML-N had emerged as a majority party.
The office of the Islamabad mayor had fallen vacant in October this year after the resignation of PML-N’s Sheikh Anser Aziz – the first mayor of the capital, who accused the federal government of stripping the local government of several key directorates.
“The way we have been pushed to the wall with all powers taken back by the federal government, the MCI [Metropolitan Corporation, Islamabad] can no longer serve its dearest citizens,” Anser had tweeted. “Better to quit if [I] can’t help my people. I have resigned as Mayor Islamabad.”
In his farewell tweet, Aziz said, “I am thankful to my dearest citizens of Islamabad who supported us like a family and pointed out where we were weak, appreciated us where we were strong. We all worked together to make Islamabad beautiful, clean, green, healthy and safest.”
He also stated that he had resigned after the clearance of two references against him, audits and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) inquiries.
He had also written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan on October 1, apprising him of the troubles he was facing.
Aziz had highlighted non-provision of funds to the MCI and alleged intervention in its affairs by the government through its local bodies’ commission.
After Aziz had tendered his resignation, the PML-N local leadership wanted to award the party ticket to deputy mayor Chaudhry Riffat Javed. However, the Election Commission of Pakistan ruled that deputy mayors could not contest the election of mayor.
Meanwhile, last week, IHC dismissed petitions filed by three deputy mayors, seeking to stop the election.
The deputy mayors were aspirants for the post but were stopped from the election process under the local government law.
Justice Aamir Farooq rejected the petition, saying deputy mayors could not contest the election. However, they can cast vote, the judgment said.