PML-N sweeps Cantt polls

Ruling party secures 68 seats, PTI catches up with 42 seats, followed by 19 seats for MQM, 7 for PPP, 6 for JI, 2 for ANP and 55 for independent candidates

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz claimed the cantonment board elections held across the country after 17 years on Saturday, bagging 68 out of the 199 seats, according to unofficial results at 1am.

The PML-N was followed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which secured 42 seats. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) bagged seven seats, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) secured 19 seats, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) secured six seats, Awami National Party (ANP) bagged two seats while the independent candidates secured 52 seats in total.

Polling began at 8am and continued till 5pm. Following is a roundup of the elections:

LAHORE:

Despite a hot weather in Lahore throughout the day, camps set up by political parties, especially PTI and PML-N, witnessed a flurry of activity till the polling concluded.

According to unofficial results from the two wards of Lahore Cantonment Board, PML-N won 15 seats while PTI had to eat humble pie with just 5 seats from the total 20 seats on offer. The LCB comprises the constituency of Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, who has been accused by PTI of winning the general election through “massive rigging”.

Political parties allegedly flouted rules set for local government elections by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), it was reported. Independent candidates in many of the wards alleged that PML-N and PTI provided transportation to voters.

The 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.

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 cantonments.

Ghulam Murtaza, one of the voters, said 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 said that along with the police personnel, Punjab Rangers and Pakistan Army were also deployed to deal with any untoward incident. He said that no incident of 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, he/she will be arrested immediately and a case will be registered,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Gujranwala, PML-N managed to secure five out of 10 seats; PTI secured three and independent candidates claimed two seats.

In Multan, PML-N and PTI secured three seats each while four seats were claimed by independent candidates.

RAWALPINDI:

As for Rawalpindi, voters’ turnout remained low, probably due to high temperature, while businesses remained shut as the government had announced public holiday in cantonment areas. PML-N, however, managed to secure all 10 seats in the area.

“Turnout at this polling station, Ward No 3, Rawalpindi Cantonment Board, is not higher than 25 per cent,” said a presiding officer.

“We all know that these elections are symbolic and nothing is going to change in cantonment localities,” said Bakhtawar Raheem, a resident of Gawalmandi. However, at some polling stations, voters’ turnout reached 60 per cent.

Heavy deployment of police and Pakistan Army personnel was made at the polling stations. The 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 RCB after PML-N workers complained against an independent candidate setting up a camp near the station.

Appreciating the Supreme Court (SC) 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.

HYDERABAD:

Hyderabad also registered a dismal voters’ turnout, registering a 12 per cent to 18 per cent at almost all the polling stations.

Amidst a low turnout, the polling process started at 9am in all 28 polling stations set up for the local government elections in the 8 wards of cantonment boards 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.

Later on, following scattered reports of misconduct, the Election Commission took notice of firing incidents in the constituencies and alleged irregularities reported.



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