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If the results of the cantonment board elections are considered a precursor, the PTI could certainly win the local government or the next general elections. PTI leaders are basking in the glory of the win, claiming it is the only party with representation across the country and that Prime Minister Imran Khan is the only national leader.
According to results, the PTI emerged as the largest party in the cantonment board elections, although its main rival PML-N closely trailed behind. PTI secured 63 seats, followed by PML-N which won 59 of the total 212 up for grabs. It, however, suffered a setback in Karachi where it lost its bastions of Defence and Clifton to the PPP and others. The PTI was expected to win as it has national and provincial assembly seats in the area. However, a low voter turnout in the posh localities along with frustration since last year’s devastating rains and inability to solve civic issues made them disappointed.
The local government system – the third tier of governance – is seen as vital to resolve the problems faced by the masses and carry out reforms. However, the lower voter turnout and spare traffic in major cities deprive deserving candidates of the opportunity. Many people still consider it a futile exercise as it doesn’t have the enthusiasm as the general elections.
The next step would be to hold local government elections in the rest of the areas. The Sindh government recently expressed its inability to hold the polls and is still dragging its feet about a year after the expiry of terms of local bodies. Punjab is expected to hold local bodies elections next year but is yet to amend the local government act.
The government is more transfixed on holding the next general elections in 2023 with the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and using data from the new census. It is imperative that the provincial government should hold LG elections at the earliest. People should also exercise their due right to vote as it strengthens democracy and could revolutionize the country.