PML-N leads in Punjab LB polls, followed by independent candidates
Results from 12 districts of Punjab on Saturday showed PML- securing 835 seats, followed by independent candidates 793 seats. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) stood third by bagging 219 local seats from 12 districts.
Earlier, polling for the third and final phase of local body (LB) elections ended in 12 districts across Punjab, following which the counting of votes began and the results continue to pour in.
The polling process started at 07:30 am and continued till 05:30 pm, without any break.
As many as 14,570 polling stations have been established across the province. A total of 9,970 polling stations have been declared as normal. In Punjab, a total number of 135,259 staff have been deployed to ensure a smooth electoral process.
Elections will take place in Rawalpindi, Multan, Bahawalpur, D.G.Khan, Sialkot and Narowal districts. The Election Commission of Pakistan has directed authorities to take foolproof security measures for the elections. Meanwhile, Local Bodies elections are also being simultaneously held in Karachi.
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Speaking at a news briefing in Islamabad after the end of polling for third phase of local body (LB) elections, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Raza said the conduct of polls was ‘more comprehensive’ than the past.
He congratulated all concerned institutions over successful conduct of local elections.
The counting of votes is underway after the polling process ended at 5:30 pm. The results of the third phase of local polls from 12 Punjab districts will soon start pouring in.
In Bahawalpur’s Union ward number 3, open violation of rules and regulations took place as mobile phones were bring openly used inside the polling station. After voting, citizens took photos of the polling stations from their cellphones. In order to maintain the law and order situation in the city, the army continued patrolling the streets. After two groups exchanged harsh words, Member of National Assembly Waseem Akhtar was escorted out of the polling station. A scuffle erupted between party workers, since mobile phones were being openly used inside the polling stations.
At Rawalpindi, a tough contest is expected between an independent candidate, a candidate from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. In Union Council 34, harsh words were exchanged between two groups. The election symbol of an independent candidate, which was a bucket, was found missing from the ballot papers. The independent was contesting for the General Council seat of U.C. 72. The independent candidate was disheartened with the situation and was crying hysterically.
Polling has been currently stopped in the city’s U.C. 79, due to severe clashes between two rival groups. A heavy contingent of police has been called for.
Another interesting development was witnessed in the city, when a newly-wed bride ventured out and braved the long cues to vote for the candidate of her choice. Clad in traditionally vibrant clothes and with her hands covered in henna, the bride cast her vote. The husband also didn’t forget to exercise his right and clad in a sherwani, voted for his candidate.
In Khushab, A Muslim League Nawaz representative Aslam Sand Rana was arrested for carrying fake ballot papers. The DCO confiscated the fake ballot papers from the PML-N representative before apprehending him. Black ink did not arrive at some polling stations, which delayed voting across several polling stations in the district. In some polling stations, women were disallowed to take part in the voting process.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took notice of the fact that women were not allowed to vote in Khushab. ECP directed all DROs to provide equal opportunity to every voter. ECP warned that if women were not allowed to vote, the election would be declared null and void.
A scuffle broke out at the polling station of U.C. 98 in Fort Munro, after which Rangers personnel were brought in to control the situation.
SHO Sambrial was suspended after a person was found carrying a Kalashnikov. According to sources, this man was a security guard.
12 political workers were injured when firing took place in the village of Chak Kavia, Shakargarh’s U.C. 94. A heavy contingent of police and army soldiers arrived on the scene to control the situation. All injured workers belonged to Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf. The suspect who fired upon the PTI workers was arrested, according to police.
Fighting broke out between two rival groups in Multan’s U.C. 11 due to which polling process was stopped. In U.C. number 54, the army was called in after a conflict-like situation emerged. PTI alleged that only PML-N workers and supporters were being allowed to vote. Voting in Multan has resumed after the army intervened and took control of the situation.
U.C. 41 in Multan was the center of another conflict between PML-N workers and supporters of an independent candidate. The situation turned serious but deescalated after army soldiers were brought in. Following the army’s presence, voting again commenced.
Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani also cast his vote for the local bodies elections.
Former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf cast his vote in Gujar Khan and also spoke to media personnel. He said that the atmosphere was democratic and that no untoward incident had taken place in the area so far.
In Sialkot, a scuffle erupted between PTI and PML-N workers, which caused the polling process to be stopped. The conflict took place at the government primary school Brij Cheema. In U.C. number 5, police adopted a thuggish attitude and refrained the team of ARY News to cover the elections at Kobay Chak police station. ARY News’ team was subjected to harsh behaviour, as police shoved them around. The police official who was responsible for this incident is named Taseer Cheema. According to details, police even failed to accept the Election Commission’s card and Taseer Cheema said that he was the law there and hence he wouldn’t allow coverage.
In Ahmedpur Sial’s U.C. 78, PML-N supporters clashed with an independent candidate’s supporters. Among a woman, four people were severely injured.