PML-N, PTI face off in Punjab’s cantonment board elections on Sunday

Shahid AslamSpecial Correspondent - Lahore

11th Sep, 2021. 04:06 pm
elections in ajk

LAHORE: Punjab which has the largest cantonment areas in the country is going to see a major political battle between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Sunday’s Local Government elections, to be held in all the 42 cantonment boards of the country.

All preparations for the polls have been completed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in cantonment boards across the country and polling bags, election and security staff have reached the respective venues.

The final lists of candidates taking part in the cantonment boards’ LG elections have already been issued by the ECP and major political parties have already announced their candidates.

Over 1500 candidates from all the major and small political parties as well as independent candidates are in the race in 38 cantonments boards across the country, including 18 cantonments in Punjab, 08 in Sindh, 09 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and three in Balochistan. Out of the total 42, candidates in four cantonments have already been declared as unopposed winners.

In most cases, the chief executive officers of the relevant cantonment boards have been appointed as the returning officers for elections.

Each cantonment board is headed by a president, who is an official of the armed forces. The general councillors would elect members on seats reserved for women, labour and minorities and one person from among them as the cantonment’s vice president.

The members constituting a Board are both officially nominated as well as elected through direct vote on the basis of adult franchise.

The ECP has already issued a code of conduct for the media. According to it, only accredited media persons will be allowed to enter polling stations along with their cameras to cover the electoral exercise only once.

“The media shall not air any unofficial results of a polling station until after one hour of end of polling.”

The previous cantonment LG elections were held in 2015 after a gap of more than 15 years.

The last couple of days witnessed intense electioneering in the cantonment areas. The candidates of political parties and independents had displayed their respective”e banners inscribed with election symbols while pictures of candidates of almost every contesting party were seen hanging on poles and buildings, as was seen during a recent visit to the Gujranwala and Lahore cantonment boards.

Under the rules, the election campaign by the candidates and their supporters ended by midnight between Sept 10 and 11.

The contesting candidates held corner meetings and door-to-door meetings for seeking votes on the last day of the election campaign. Hustle and bustle was seen at polling offices of major political parties as their supporters remained present there from morning to late night. Some of them arranged sound systems to play songs of their respective political parties.

Punjab with 18 cantonment boards is going to see a fierce political battle between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on September 12.

Both the parties have fielded their respective candidates on almost every seat in Punjab. Similarly, independent candidates in a large number are also contesting to grab seats in the cantonment board elections in Punjab as well.

Cantonment board elections are to be held in nine cantonments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tomorrow (Sunday), a total of 169 candidates are in the running for 33 wards. The Election Commission of Pakistan has finalised arrangements for the polls in which around 120,000 voters will exercise their right to vote in KPK cantonments.

Candidates have already been elected as unopposed in each two wards of Cherat cantonment and Murree Gallies cantonment.

Similarly, in Sindh, local government elections in 08 cantonment boards, six in Karachi, besides one each in Hyderabad and Pannu Aqil would be held on September 12.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), PML-Functional and several independent candidates are also in the race for the 42 seats of general councillors in the Karachi’s six cantonment boards — Clifton, Faisal, Karachi, Malir, Korangi and Manora.

Of the 42 boards, party-based elections will be held on 10 each wards of Clifton, Faisal and Malir cantonment boards; followed by five in each wards of Karachi cantonment and Korangi cantonment boards and two seats of Korangi cantonment board.

More than 300 candidates are in the run in Karachi and the number of registered voters touches half a million mark in the six cantonment boards of Karachi.

While PTI is the only party which has fielded its candidates in all 42 wards, the JI is contesting the polls in 38 wards, MQM-P in 33 wards and PSP in 28 wards.

There are 53 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Abbotabad Cantonment, 04 for two general seats in Attock Cantonment, two candidates for one seat for Sanjwal Cantonment, 34 candidates contesting for five seats in Bahawalpur, five candidates, contesting for two general seats in Bannu Cantonment, 77 candidates for 10 general seats in Chaklala Cantonment, 98 candidates contesting for 10 seats in Clifton Cantonment, five candidates for two general seats in D.I Khan Cantonment, 88 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Faisal Cantonment, Karachi, 93 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Gujranwala, 07 candidates contesting for two general seats in Havelian Cantonment, 73 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Hyderabad Cantonment, 06 candidates contesting for two general seats in Jhelum, 06 candidates contesting for two general seats in Kemari Cantonment, 40 candidates contesting for five general seats in Karachi Cantonment, 10 candidates contesting for two general seats in Kharian Cantonment, 08 candidates contesting for three general seats in Kohat Cantonment, 49 candidates contesting for five general seats in Korangi Cantonment, 112 candidates are contesting for 10 general seats in Lahore, five candidates contesting for one general seat in Loralai Cantonment, 07 candidates contesting for two general seats in Mangla Cantonment, 10 candidates contesting for two general seats in Mardan Cantonment, 38 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Multan Cantonment, 07 candidates contesting for two general seats in Murree Cantonment, 62 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Malir Cantonment, 26 candidates for four general seats in Nowshera Cantonment, 38 candidates contesting for 05 general seats in Okara Cantonment, two candidates contesting for one general seat in Pano Aqil Cantonment, 44 candidates contesting for five general seats in Peshawar Cantonment, 35 candidates contesting for five general seats in Quetta Cantonment, 85 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Rawalpindi Cantonment, 12 candidates contesting for three general seats in Risalpur Cantonment, 58 candidates contesting for 06 general seats in Sargodha, 18 candidates in the race for two general seats in Shorkot Cantonment, 25 candidates contesting for five general seats in Sialkot Cantonment, 20 candidates contesting for 05 general seats in Taxila Cantonment, 87 candidates in the race for 10 general seats in Wah Cantonment, 155 candidates contesting for 10 general seats in Walton and there are seven candidates contesting for two general seats in Zhob Cantonment, Balochistan.

It may be relevant to mention here that before 1864, cantonments in the Sub-Continent used to be administered by the military authorities under various Government Orders.

In 1864, for the first time, an Act was adopted for improving the administration of the cantonments and a magistrate was appointed for each cantonment to administer the area. With growing civilian population in cantonment areas, establishment of some sort of local government in these areas became a necessity.

The Cantonments Act 1924 was the landmark in the history of cantonments as it brought in its wake some sweeping changes. The Act introduced the representative local government system under which elected representatives of the civil population became members of the Cantonment Boards. The Boards were created as autonomous statutory local bodies for providing civil services to civilian population living in cantonment areas.

The powers and functions of the Cantonment Boards are synonymous to Municipal Committees in the cities. The Cantonment Boards, existing in each cantonment, have the power to approve taxes, levies, etc. proposed by the cantonment administration; approve bye-laws prepared by the cantonment administration; approve annual budget for the cantonment administration; approve long and short term development plans for the cantonment and review the performance of cantonment administration.

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