RAWALPINDI/ HYDERABAD/ LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has taken the lead, bagging 68 out of the 199 seats, in the Cantonment Elections held across the country on Saturday, according to unofficial results.
The PML-N was followed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which has secured 42 seats. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) bagged seven seats, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) secured 19 seats. The Jamat-e-Islami (JI) has secured six seats while the Awami National Party (ANP) has bagged two seats. Independent candidates have secured 55 seats in total, reported Express News.
Cantonment Board Elections were being held after 17 years in the country. Polling began at 8am and continued till 5pm.
Following is a roundup of today’s elections across the country:
Despite the heat in the city throughout the polling hours, camps set up by political parties, especially the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) witnessed a flurry of activity as polling reached a conclusion in Lahore.
The PTI and the PML-N set camps next to each other in major areas of both the cantonments. No untoward incident was as such reported despite the casual sloganeering as convoys of voters passed by camps of opposing parties.
Political parties flouted rules set for local government elections by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Independent candidates in many of the wards alleged that PML-N and PTI provided transportation to voters. Political parties, however, denied the allegation, and claimed that since independent candidates had no chances of winning they were hurling allegations on the main political parties for face saving.
Army officials watch as votes are counted in Lahore cantonment. PHOTO: APP
More than 5,000 police officials were deployed for the security of the elections in Walton and Lahore Cantonment Boards.
The police used barb wires and pickets in different parts of the cantonment area.
Ghulam Abbas, one of the voters told The Express Tribune that good security arrangements had been made by the police. “There were three tiers of security after which we were allowed to go and cast our votes,” he said.
A police official told The Express Tribune that along with the police personnel, Punjab Rangers and Pakistan Army are also deployed to deal with any untoward incident.
A senior police official said that no violence was reported from any area within the cantonment boards where elections are being held. “We had informed the candidates before the elections that if any candidate is found involved in aerial firing during, before or after the election, they would be arrested immediately and a case will be registered against them,” he added.
In the unofficial results of the Cantonment Elections received so far, the PML-N won as many as 14 seats out of a total of 20 seats in the two cantonments of the city with the PTI securing five seats so far.
In Walton Cantonment PML-N won nine out of the 10 seats while in Lahore cantonment, it won five seats. PTI won one seat in Walton cantonment while four in the Lahore Cantonment.
PML-N candidate Rana Muhammad Jaffar succeeded with a total of 4,192 votes in Ward 10 of Lahore Cantonment Board, PTI’s Haji Ilyas came second with 2,194 votes while PPP candidate Zahid Anjum was third with 678 votes.
In Ward 1 of the LCB, Shahid Ali Sheikh of PML-N won with 1,047 votes. In Ward 5 of Lahore Cantonment, PTI’s candidate Raja Shahzad Hussain remained successful with a total of 1,065 votes followed by PML-N’s Javed Zamir Ahmad who could attain 729 votes.
In Ward 1 of the Walton Cantonment Board, PML-N candidate Ashfaq Ahmad Chauhdry succeeded with a total of 3032 votes, while PTI’s Ehsan Butt came second with 2,280 votes followed by independent candidate Haji Ashraf who received 940 votes.
In Ward 2 of the Walton Cantonment Baord, PML-N’s candidate, Qari Mohammad Hanif won with 2,942 votes followed by Malik Tahir Mehmood Awan of PTI with 2,458 votes.
Meanwhile, in Ward 6 of Walton Cantonment, PML-N’s Chauhdry Sajjad Ahmad won with 4,116. Chaudhry Shahid Iqbal, an independent candidate, came in second with 1,747 votes. PTI’s Sajid Hussain came in third with 1,563 votes.
In Ward 9 of the LCB, Naeem Shahzad of PML-N won with 3,616 votes followed by independent candidate Bilal Bhatti who bagged 1,509 votes. PTI’s Chauhdry Nazakat Bhatti came in third with 695 votes.
In Ward 4 of Lahore Cantonment Board, PTI candidate Faisal Awan succeeded with a total of 1,619 votes. PML-N candidate Rana Asif secured 1,166 while Jamat-e-Islami’s contestant Khalid Siddiqi grabbed 815 votes.
In LCB Ward 3, PTI’s Ustad Arshad won with 1,894 votes followed by PML-N’s Haji Muhammad Iqbal 1,702.
In Ward 4 Walton Cantonment, PML-N Muhammad Faqeer Hussain took 3,007 votes followed by PTI’s Saleem Jutt with 2,220 votes. In Ward 7 Walton, Chauhdry Tahir Hameed of PML-N won 3,007 followed by PTI’s Shahid Lodhi with 1,792 votes.
In Ward 6 of the LCB, PTI candidate Muhammad Taimur Akhtar succeeded with a total of 1,020 votes. Moreover, independent candidate Irfan Akbar received 398 votes followed by JI’s Awan who received 156 votes.
In the Walton Ward 10, Khalid Ahmed of PML-N won with 3,236 votes followed by Faheem Ahmed Khan, an independent candidate with 3061 votes. Mian Akhtar Ali of PTI secured 1,519 votes.
Appreciating the Supreme Court for being the force behind the local government elections at cantonment boards, voters and contestants in Rawalpindi urged for strengthening the civil military model.
Voters demanded that the army chief work for strengthening this system, and empower the locally elected representatives who could work for the welfare of their voters.
Voter turnout remained low as not many voters, probably due to high temperatures, failed to show up. Businesses remained shut as the government had announced public holiday in cantonment areas. “Turn out at this polling station, Ward No 3, Rawalpindi cantonment board, is not higher then 25 per cent,” said a presiding officer, requesting not to be named.
"We all know that these elections are symbolic and nothing is going to change in cantonment localities," said Khalid Umer, a resident of Guwalmandi. However, at some polling stations, voter turnout reached 60%.
Heavy deployment was made at the polling stations where police and Pakistan Army personnel were deployed.
Police arrested four workers of PTI outside FG Higher Secondary School for playing party songs and taking out a small rally.
Voting was stopped for an hour at Progressive Public School polling station of Ward No 1 of Rawalpindi cantonment board after PML-N workers complained against an independent candidate setting up camp near to the station.
Voter turnout during the first four hours remained dismal registering a 12% to 18% at almost all the polling stations.
Amid a low voter turnout, the polling process started on schedule at 9 am in all the 28 polling stations set up for the local government elections in the 8 wards of Cantonment Board of Hyderabad. Stringent security measures were put in place to ensure security.
"The polling is slow but it is progressing smoothly," said MQM leader MNA Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi while visiting a party camp. PTI’s candidate for Ward 7, Syed Ahmed Rashid, and PPP candidate Kazi Ashad Abbassi also pointed out low voter turnout in their constituency.
ECP takes notice
The Election Commission Punjab has taken notice of incidents of celebratory aerial firing in Rawalpindi and Lahore following Local Bodies Elections in cantonment areas.
This screengrab from Express News shows aerial firing during a post election rally on Saturday. PHOTO: EXPRESS
The Commission noted that the incidents were a violation of the code of conduct. Seeking a report from the concerned authorities, it said such violation of rules cannot be tolerated at any cost.
In South Punjab, voters seemed to reject the mandate of popular political parties and voted largely for independent candidates. In Okara, independent candidates won on all five seats of the Wards while the PTI, PML-N and PPP failed to secure any.
In Ward no 1 in Okara, out of total nine candidates, Akhtar Hameed, won with 286 votes. In Ward no. 2, out of total seven competing candidates, independent candidate Nadeem Anwar Bhatti won with 492 votes.
In Ward no 3 out of total 12 candidates, Raja Akram won with 662 votes. In Ward no 4 out of five candidates, Maqbool Ahmed Sabir won with 1,638 votes, and in Ward no 5, out of total eight candidates, independent candidate Shehzad Shafiq won with 1,768 votes.
In Multan, PTI and PML-N each secured three seats whereas four independent candidates secured victory. Garrison commander Multan, Major General Hasnaat Amir Gillani, monitored security arrangements.
In Ward no. 8, independent candidate Khursheed Ahmed Khan bagged 253 votes while in Ward no. 9, independent candidate Shamshad Ali Khan secured 370 votes to win the seat.
According to unofficial results, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) won 15 seats in the city out of 32 seats.
The remaining seats were won by PTI five, PML-N four, PPP three and JI one seat. Independent candidates won four seats.
The turnout in the six cantonment areas was between from 15 to 20 per cent.
Voters are searched before being allowed in a polling station for Karachi Cantonment Board in Karachi on Saturday. PHOTO: PPI
Later, while congratulating workers, MQM chief Altaf Hussain claimed that the party had won 22 seats in Sindh. Of these, 15 were won in Karachi, and seven in Hyderabad.
He added that they could run a proper campaign for Cantonment elections.