ISLAMABAD: All major political parties are set to start full-fledged campaign for the local government elections to be held in Islamabad on December 31 as most of the PTI candidates in three union councils (UCs) have already returned unopposed.

The Elections Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday allotted symbols to all the candidates. Interestingly, the PTI candidates for the slots of chairmen and vice chairmen UC Golra and PWD have won unopposed. It has also been learnt that nine councillors of the PTI have also been elected unopposed from UC Sohan Camp.

Former minister and MNA from Islamabad Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said the PML-N would win the local government elections with a majority because of the development works launched by its government. He said the PML-N had delivered superbly when he was MNA while the incumbent government also completed major development works in Islamabad and many more were in the pipeline.

“Based on our performance, we will win the elections with majority and you will see we will again get our mayor elected,” he said. The former minister said during its tenure the PTI failed to launch any mega project in Islamabad and a few projects which they started could not be completed, which “we are completing now,” he said.

ECP allots symbols to candidates; PTI secures majority seats in three UCs without contest

Asked about the unopposed victory of PTI in UC Golra and PWD, Dr Chaudhry said in Golra due to the seat adjustment the PML-N’s candidate withdrew the nomination papers while in PWD the PTI fraudulently got the nomination papers of PML-N candidate withdrawn.

“Our candidate for the chairman has submitted an application to the returning officer. He has disowned his signature. It is true our candidate for vice chairman withdrew his nomination papers but the nomination papers of PML-N candidate for the slot of chairman were withdrawn based on fake signatures. We are taking up the matter with the Federal Investigation Agency,” he said.

About the unopposed victory of PTI councillors in UC Sohan Camp, he said: “I have no idea about this as I have been focusing on the slots of chairmen and vice chairmen,” he said.

On the other hand, PTI former MNA Raja Khurram Nawaz claimed that PML-N was facing shortage of candidates as local leaders knew that the PTI will win majority of seats.

“In the last general elections held in 2018, we had won all three MNA seats in Islamabad. In this city, PTI has strong vote bank as during our tenure from 2018 to March this year we launched record development works, including interchanges, road carpeting and construction of streets. H said out of the total 101 seats, PTI will win over 70 seats of UC chairmen.

Asked about unopposed victories of the PTI candidates in few UCs, he said chairmen and vice chairmen of PTI had been elected unopposed in UC Golra and PWD while almost nine councillors had been elected unopposed from UC Sohan Camp (Mohara Nangial), he said and added that another councillor of PTI from UC Gangal had also been elected unopposed.

From UC Golra, which is the home constituency of PML-N’s former MNA Anjum Aqeel Khan, PTI’s Pir Usman Gillani has been elected unopposed while in UC PWD Asif Arshad of the PTI has returned unopposed. A few days ago, PTI candidate for councillor Sardar Narinder Singh from Bari Imam was also elected unopposed.

PML-N’s former deputy mayor Syed Zeeshan Naqvi said his party would repeat the history by winning majority of seats like the 2015 elections.

“Once again, we will win Islamabad’s local government elections based on our performance,” he said.

PTI’s local leader Shiraz Kiani said the party will register a historic victory as people of Islamabad were all set to take revenge from the incumbent government.

PPP’s incharge Central Secretariat Sibtul Haider Bukhari had recently told Dawn that in around 15 union councils, there will be joint candidates of the PPP and the PML-N while in remaining UCs “we are fielding our candidates with our party symbol.” He said his party will win a sizeable number of seats.

Last time, elections were held in 50 union councils (UCs) in 2015 and this time the government has increased the number to 101. In the upcoming elections, over 984,000 voters of Islamabad could cast their votes to elect their local representatives for the next five years. Besides PML-N, PTI, PPP and independent candidates, Jamaat-i-Islami, TLP and Awami Worker Party have also fielded their candidates.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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