ISLAMABAD - Marred by violence and killings, the first phase of Local Bodies (LB) polls concluded yesterday with PML-N leading in Punjab and the PPP sweeping majority of seats in Sindh.
Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Babar Fateh Yaqoob told media that the overall polling exercise ended peacefully except an untoward incident in Khairpur where clash between two political rivals resulted in killing of 12 people.
The clash took place between activists of Pakistan Muslim League Functional (PML-F) and workers of PPP in Khairpur district of Sindh.
Though the unofficial results continued to pour in soon after the poll ended, the ECP said it would announce the official results before November 3. However, as per the unofficial results, the PML-N clinched majority of seats in Punjab followed by PPP that grabbed maximum seats in eights districts of Sindh.
As many as 774 candidates were elected unopposed in both the provinces.
The ECP said it has deferred polls in some union councils and wards in Gujrat and Faisalabad districts after violation of code of conduct by candidates was noticed.
The secretary ECP said letters had been sent the Inspectors General of police of both provinces seeking a list of candidates who carried on campaigning despite expiry of the deadline on Thursday night.
The polling authority also summoned Minister of State for Power Abid Sher Ali and his father Chaudhry Sher Ali, a former parliamentarian, over alleged violations. Both men were told to appear before the commission on November 3 along with the District Returning Officer and District Coordination Officer.
The commission expressed grave concerns over the increasing incidents of rough handling of its election staff in Punjab triggering Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Raza Khan to ask provincial authorities for registering criminal cases against those responsible for manhandling of the staff.
Secretary ECP said the commission will extend support to its staff manhandled by candidates referring to the incident in Okara where Presiding Officer Summar Abbas was tortured by Rai Mujtaba Kharal, former lawmaker. “I conveyed message of the CEC to our presiding officer. Police have registered a case against the accused and we will follow the case till justice is done,” he added.
The incidents of physical tortures of election staff in Punjab have worried the commission about the safety of the polling staff.
The ECP has also taken serious notice of the incident of physical manhandling of Returning Officer Hafizabad by some candidates asking Punjab government to take action against the accused.
It has directed Chief Secretary and Inspector General Police Punjab to arrest the culprits, saying the incident was a criminal act and tantamount to sabotaging the upcoming LG elections in Punjab.
The ECP said Returning Officer Hafizabad Allah Dita Waraich was manhandled by candidates Amanullah Sindhu, Manzoorul Hassan Chatta and Fazal Qadir. It said the ECP and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retired) Sardar Raza Khan was shocked to know the treatment meted out to election officer.