The first phase of the local body polls was finally completed in Punjab and Sindh after a gap of ten years. In the first phase elections were held in twelve districts of Punjab that included Lahore, Faisalabad, Nankana Sahib, Gujrat, Bhakkar, Chakwal, Kasur, Pakpattan, Okara, Vehari, Lodhran and Bahawalnager. In Sindh elections were held in the districts of Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Kamber-Shahdadkot, Sukkur, Ghotki and Khairpur. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cast his vote in Lahore and expressed his faith that democracy is the future of Pakistan. Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto also cast his vote in Larkana.
Various incidents of irregularities and violence were reported in both Punjab and Sindh. The most unfortunate incident happened in Khairpur where at least eleven people were killed in an armed clash between rival groups. In many districts of Punjab voters laid the blame on police and alleged that police has become a party in many in union councils.
The local body elections have been delayed for long, with the provincial governments of both Punjab and Sindh appearing reluctant in transferring power to the grassroots level. The transfer of power to the grassroots is something which can ensure real and transparent rule of the people. The battle to ensure this won’t be easy, but at least we have started. The flurry of political activity in various union councils were elections were held in the first phase also ensure that there is a renewed sense of political awareness among the people. As the awareness at the grassroots level grows it will become inevitable for those at the top to share power and responsibility at the very basic level which can only be good for the future of Pakistan.
The first phase of the local body election is the very step towards the transfer of power to the grass roots.