The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has emerged as the second largest party after the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) in the recently concluded local government elections in Islamabad, claiming the chairman’s slot in at least 16 of the 50 union councils. The PTI leadership was hopeful of a decent showing in the capital, as it had twice won the NA-48 constituency (urban area) in the 2013 elections. The mostly rural NA-49 is considered to be the stronghold of PML-N’s Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.
The delimitation in the federal capital by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) gave an undue advantage to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz as only 17 UCs were in urban Islamabad whereas 33 UCs were in rural Islamabad. The delimitation gave a serious advantage to PMLN as most of the UCs were in its stronghold, i.e. the rural Islamabad. The number of registered voters in UC’s falling in the PMLN’s stronghold was quite low, whereas the urban Islamabad UC’s had a greater number of registered voters, another subtle strategy that assisted PMLN in claiming more UCs and ensured that even if the PTI clean sweeps the urban areas they still wouldn’t be able to have their mayor.
Merely a few days before the local government elections in the capital, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shifted the Capital Development Authority (CDA) under the administrative control of the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), even more interesting is the fact that PML-N’s MNA from NA-49 Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry was appointed the state Minister for CADD just a few days before the CDA fell into CADD’s lap. The move was a clear effort to lure political support for the ruling party. ECP’s silence in this regard raises many questions.
The much talked about ‘experience’ of PMLN certainly played an important role in the party’s success in Islamabad.