GUJRAT: PML-N’s Tahir Mahmood Maanda has been elected as the mayor of Gujrat Municipal Corporation by defeating the PML-Q’s Mian Pervez Akhtar Pagganwala after a close contest.
All 19 members of the house exercised their voting right with the PML-N nominee obtaining 11 votes. The total strength of the PML-N in the house was 15, PML-Q three and its ally PTI one, however the unofficial results showed that four of the PML-N members voted in favour of the ‘Q’ nominee since two of PML-N’s union council chairmen -- Ashraf Rehania and Zafar Iqbal Rehmani -- had already announced their support for the PML-Q.
During polling, it was also witnessed that PML-N’s technocrat member, Chaudhry Bilal Nayyer, a nephew of former PML-N MNA Chaudhry Mubashar Hussain, entered the polling station along with N’s dissident member Mr Rehania, who proposed voting for Mr Pagganwala.
Sources say that the strained relationship between the kins -- the Chaudhrys of PML-Q and Chaudhry Mubashar’s family -- might end as a result of a background development which would come to the fore in a few days.
They also said that a PML-N member elected on the reserved seat was said to be the fourth vote against his own party.
The mayor’s seat had been vacated after the Election Commission of Pakistan in accordance with a Supreme Court verdict declared PML-N’s Haji Nasir Mehmood disqualified as the mayor and union council chairman in December 2018.
Tahir Maanda is the second mayor of Gujrat since the city’s upgrade to Municipal Corporation in 2015 from a Municipal Committee.
Strict security measures were adopted through the deployment of a heavy contingent of police in and around the Gujrat MC compound after the law enforcement agencies issued a threat alert of possibility of sabotage to disrupt the polling process.
Presiding Officer Jahangir Butt, Assistant Commissioner Afzal Hayat Tarrar and the district election commissioner remained present at the polling station.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz expressed gratitude over the victory of his party in the mayoral election, saying that the victory of his party’s candidate in a difficult situation was a pleasant change.
Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2019