PESHAWAR: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf won 16 of the 33 wards in the cantonment board elections held in nine cantonments of seven districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
However, in the provincial capital it could win only a single seat in the five wards. According to unofficial results, independent candidates won polls in eight wards in different cantonment boards. PML-N bagged four seats whereas PPP and ANP were successful in three and two wards, respectively.
A total of 169 candidates were in the run for the 33 wards in the province.
In Peshawar, two candidates of PPP, one each of ANP and PTI and an independent candidate supported by JUI-F won the polls.
PML-N wins elections in four, PPP in three and ANP in two wards
The PPP candidates Naeem Bakhash and Yadullah Bangash won elections from ward-2 and 4 by getting 593 and 909 votes, respectively. ANP candidate Faizan Khan won elections in ward-3 by bagging 1,128 votes. PTI candidate Mohammad Asad Sethi won polls in ward-5 with 330 votes and independent candidate Noaman Farooq won elections in ward-1 by clinching 705 votes.
In Abbottabad Cantonment, PTI won polls in four wards followed by PML-N in three wards, whereas independent and PPP candidates won two and one seat, respectively.
In Havelian Cantonment, both PTI and PML-N won a single seat each.
In Nowshera Cantonment, PTI won the polls in three wards whereas an independent candidate emerged victorious in the fourth ward. In Risalpur Cantonment, PTI begged all the three seats.
Similarly, in Kohat Cantonment, two of the wards were won by independent candidates, whereas the third seat was bagged by PTI.
In two wards of Mardan Cantonment, one seat each was won by ANP and independent candidates. In Banuu, one seat each was one by PTI and independent candidates. Both the wards in Dera Ismail Khan Cantonment were secured by PTI.
According to the data of the Election Commission of Pakistan, the total number of voters in all the cantonment boards of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was 120,000. Polling for the cantonment boards started at 8am and continued till 5pm.
A total of 131 polling stations were set up in seven districts of the province including Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Abbottabad. Of them, 54 were for men and 52 for women, while 25 were joint polling stations.
In most cases, the chief executive officers of the relevant cantonment boards were appointed returning officers for the elections.
The standing operating procedures (SOPs) against Covid-19 were violated during the elections, especially outside the polling stations. A lot of supporters of the candidates assembled at the election camps set up outside the polling stations.
Neither the supporters had worn mask nor used sanitizers at the election camps. They were also not observing social distancing.
A police constable told Dawn that a person having thermal gun was deployed at the main gate of Government Higher Secondary School No.2 Peshawar Cant where polling station was established for ward-2. However, he was removed after two hours as the candidates raised objections over him.
Elections were held in five wards in Peshawar Cantonment, two each in Mardan, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan and three each in Kohat and Nowshera. Candidates have already returned unopposed in the two wards of Cherat Cantonment.
Similarly, elections were held in three cantonments in Abbottabad, including Abbottabad, Havelian and Murree Galis. Abottabad has 10 wards while Havelian and Murree Galis both have two wards each. Candidates have already returned unopposed in the two wards of Murree Galis.
The workers and supporters of major political parties remained present at their election offices from morning till completion of the polling process. A lot of flags, posters and big banners were displayed at the polling offices. Some of them arranged sound systems to play songs of their respective political parties.
In Peshawar, the voters’ attendance was low as no long queues were witnessed inside the polling stations.
An official of ECP at polling station of ward-2 told Dawn that situation inside the polling station was under control as no rush was seen during the entire day.
He said that the voters continued to visit the polling stations in pairs of two or three throughout the day but there were no long lines or queues outside the polling booths.
A large number of police officials were deployed inside and outside the polling stations to avert any untoward incident.
Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2021