Four years after the Awami National Party led coalition government had dissolved the local bodies in Khyber Pakhrunkhwa, more than 12 million voters from across the province voted to elected 41,000 members in three tiers of local councils in what was Pakistan’s biggest ever local government election on Saturday. According to the ECP, 88,420 candidates were running for the elections. Of them, 77,033 were contesting for village and neighbourhood councils, including 39,079 for general seats, 15,700 for peasants, 14,224 for youths, 7,681 for women and 349 for non-Muslims. Similarly, 5,480 candidates were contesting for the general seats of district councils and 5907 for tehsil councils. A positive sign was the participation of more than 7,000 women candidates for the 6,678 women seats. Holding local body elections is a commendable step by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led Khyber Pakhrunkhwa Government and Sindh and Punjab must follow suit to divulge power to the grass root level. According to the results received so far the ruling party in KPK, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is leading the with more than 360 seats, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) has bagged 186 seat while Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has 150, followed by Awami National Party (ANP) on 111 and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) on 104 seats. Extraordinary security measures were taken by the provincial government to ensure peaceful atmosphere on the polling stations. However, there were many reports of clashes among workers of different political parties in different parts of the province. Six people lost their lives and dozens were left injured as the result of the clashes, there were also allegations of rigging and irregularities in many constituencies. Despite the reported incidents of violence the PTI led Government in KPK must be congratulated for holding the local body election.
After the success of LB polls in KPK; Sindh and Punjab must also follow suit and hold local body elections.