ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Local government (LG) elections in 42 of the 43 cantonments across the country took place on Saturday after a long interval of 17 years.
Police, assisted by paramilitary forces, had made foolproof security arrangements across the country for holding Cantonment boards' elections and polling was conducted in peaceful environment.
According to unconfirmed and unofficial results from Muree, PML-N candidate Malik Akmal Nawaz won cantonment board ward 1 election by a clear margin.
There are two wards of Murree Cantonment Board and PTI candidate Malik Khalil was already elected unopposed from ward 2.
Unofficial results from Rawalpindi hint victory for PML-N in all the 10 wards of the cantonment.
PML-N leaders condemned the violation of code of conduct by their party workers in Rawalpindi, who had resorted to aerial firing to celebrate their victory.
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said law would come into action against those who resorted to aerial firing while celebrating their victory.
In Lahore, about 5,000 policemen were deployed in all polling stations in the provincial metropolis to maintain law and order.
CCPO Capt (R) Amin Vains himself supervised security arrangements. He along with senior officers visited various polling stations to check arrangements.
Over 1,800,000 voters were expected to exercise their voting rights in the cantonments from 9 am to 5 pm.
Saad Rafique said that the PML-N would clean sweep the LG election in all the cantonment boards of the country.
Talking to the media after casting his vote at a polling station in DHA Lahore, he said this time also, people would endorse the mandate given to the N-League in the general election 2013.
According to reports, a low voter turnout was witnessed during the first four hours of polling process which started at 9 am. However, the turnout considerably increased in the later part of the day.
Some 12,400 personnel of the paramilitary force Rangers and Army had been deployed at the polling stations for security. Voters were not allowed to carry cellphones inside polling stations.
Several candidates belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have been declared winners unopposed.
According to data released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 1,151 candidates are in the run – with 541 affiliated with political parties and 610 independents.
Eighteen parties have fielded their candidates, but only nine of them have fielded more than five candidates. Only three parties have fielded their candidates in all four provinces.
The PTI had fielded 137 candidates — 93 in Punjab, 22 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 18 in Sindh and four in Balochistan. The PML-N has 128 candidates – 99 in Punjab, 13 in KP, 12 in Sindh and four in Balochistan.
The PPP had fielded 89 candidates — 58 in Punjab, 22 in Sindh, eight in KP and one in Balochistan. The number of candidates fielded by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) is 74 — 41 in Punjab, 28 in Sindh and seven in KP.
Twenty-seven candidates have contested on Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) tickets — 23 in Punjab, three in Sindh and one in KP. The MQM had fielded 27 candidates, all in Sindh. The Awami National Party has contested on 13 seats in KP and Awami Muslim League fought for seven seats in Punjab.
The 42 cantonments were divided into 199 wards and 1,225 polling stations were set up, of them 310 declared as sensitive and 130 highly sensitive. Of the 924 polling stations in Punjab, 193 were declared sensitive and 102 highly sensitive.
The Election Commission had already issued code of conduct for the candidates and their supporters for ensuring free and fair elections. It had prohibited the setting up of parties' election camps or affixing their flags, posters and banners within 100 metrrs of the polling stations.
Military personnel and policemen were patrolling the cantonment areas as part of security arrangement to avert any untoward incident on the polling day.
In Dec 2013, a bill had been introduced in the National Assembly to make representation of the elected members in cantonment areas more meaningful, but it could not be adopted and was finally withdrawn on March 6 this year – the day when a diluted version was made to become law through promulgation of an ordinance.
The ordinance empowered the ECP to hold elections in cantonments, but did not change the composition of the boards where military authorities dominate the elected civilian members.
The elections are now taking place under a slightly amended version of the Cantonment Ordinance 2002, introduced by former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf.
The dilly-dallying of the government in holding LG polls despite a gap of several years earlier evoked Supreme Court's ire.
The court deplored that the local government elections in the cantonment areas had not been held since 1998 when the holding of polls had been mandated by the Constitution in terms of Article 140A as required by the Principles of Policy enshrined in the Constitution in Article 32.
On March 19 last year, the apex court had issued a judgment empowering the ECP to complete the legislative process within five months and then hold the elections by Nov 15, 2014.
Balochistan was the only province which conducted the elections within the deadline.
After rejecting the schedule for holding LG polls in Punjab and Sindh in three phases, the Supreme Court had approved April 25 (today) as the day for holding LG elections.
A total of 82 candidates are contesting for Karachi's Clifton Cantonment Board. Of those, 40 belong to political parties while 42 are independent candidates.
29 polling stations across the city have been declares sensitive.
Out of the 10 wards in Hyderabad, MQM candidates have been declared winners unopposed in two.
Over 200 candidates are in the run for the Lahore Cantonment Board elections.
The cantonment board has been divided into 20 wards which includes Walton, Defence, Cantt Saddar, Mian Mir Colony, Qainchi and other areas.
Out of the 10 wards in Multan, PTI candidates have been declared winners in two and a PML-N candidate in one.
An independent candidate has been declared winner unopposed in Mangla Cantonment.
153 candidates are contesting for LG polls in 31 wards across KP.
All polling stations in Peshawar have been declared sensitive.
41 candidates are in the run for seven positions in cantonment boards in Balochistan.
33 candidates are contesting for five seats in Quetta while eight candidates are in the run for two seats in Loralai.
Candidates contesting for the two seats in Zhob cantonment boards have both been declared winners unopposed.