ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was leading in Sunday’s cantonment board elections with independents trailing behind.
Till our going to the press, the vote count was underway with more than half of the results in. According to unofficial results, PTI is in the lead with 62 seats, followed by PML-N with 56 and independent candidates with 52 seats.
Among the opposition parties, PPP has won 17, Jamaat-e-Islami seven, MQM 10 and BAP and ANP two each. A total of 1,569 candidates stood for elections in 219 wards of 42 cantonment boards.
Of the candidates vying for a total of 219 wards, seven candidates have already been elected unopposed. In addition, there is no competition in four wards of Kamra, none in one ward of Rawalpindi and none in one ward of Pano Aqil.
Therefore, polls on Sunday were held in 206 wards. The polling process started at 8am and continued till 5pm. Voters inside the polling station were able to cast their votes despite polling time ending. The gates were closed for those queued outside.
Polling remained largely peaceful in cantonments across Punjab, with the provincial election commissioner expressing satisfaction over voting and security arrangements.
Although no major untoward incidents were reported in Sindh, the PPP sent a number of letters to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) complaining about lawmakers — mostly from the PTI — visiting polling stations in Karachi and the party's polling agents not being allowed to enter.
In another letter, PPP's Taj Haider expressed concern over "alarming reports" according to which he said the party's opponents had planned to rig the election in three wards of Cantonment Board Clifton.
The voting process took place smoothly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well and no major violence was reported. Provincial election commissioner, Sharifullah, said the situation was under control and the voting process remained unhindered across KP.
He said no MPA or minister was allowed to visit any polling station, adding that he was looking into the reports of a female lawmaker visiting a polling station. In Balochistan, polling continued uninterrupted between 8am and 5pm in the Quetta, Zhob and Loralai cantonment boards.
At a polling station in Quetta, supporters of the PTI and Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) came to blows after a woman was barred from voting. Despite results across all wards not being complete, parties began claiming support shown by people and declaring victory.
Commenting on the results, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said the cantonment board elections was actually a contest between the PTI ticket holders and those who could not get tickets and contested independently.
“Results show that the modicum of worth the opposition had had been lost and they failed badly,” he said in a tweet. In another tweet, he said the cantonment board elections had evidenced that PTI was the sole political party in the country having its vote bank in every constituency.
Fawad said the real contest was between the PTI and independents adding that the PPP and PMLN stood fully exposed. PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif thanked God and the people who had shown the party support through their votes in the polls.
"We assure the people that we will not disappoint them and will leave no stone unturned in resolving their hardships and issues," he said. "We will take the country on the path to development, progress and prosperity with renewed vigour. InshaAllah," he added.
PPP's Murtaza Wahab, meanwhile, declared victory in several wards of Karachi's Clifton Cantonment Board. He claimed the party had won for the first time from polling stations of PNT Colony in Ward 10 of the Board.
He went on to claim that Ward 9 had also been secured by PPP. He further claimed PPP's triumph in Ward 2. Later, he claimed the party's victory in all of Ward 10. "Alhamdolillah PPP has emerged as the largest party of CBC so far. Well done PPP workers," Wahab said. Traditional rivalry between competing parties was witnessed earlier too in the polling exercise.
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