ISLAMABAD - Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan has expressed his satisfaction over the peaceful conduct of local government elections in Sindh and Punjab.

Soon after the final phase of elections ended in Punjab and Sindh yesterday, the CEC said though conduct of LG polls in provinces was previously the duty of provincial election authorities, yet the 18th Amendment assigned the task to the ECP saying the commission fulfilled its constitutional duty diligently and effectively. Earlier when polling was in full swing in Rawalpindi, the CEC visited he city expressing satisfaction over the arrangements carried out by the authorities to conduct polling in different parts of Punjab and Sindh.

During his visit to the polling station at Divisional Public School Rawalpindi, the CEC told reporters that the ECP had carried out elaborative arrangements to conduct polling in fair, free and transparent manner.

"I am satisfied with the arrangements being carried out by our staff for conduct of the polling process and all the polling officials have been directed to strictly adhere to the rules of election commission for smooth conduct of the process," he said.

Polling was held in 12 districts of Punjab and entire Karachi in Sindh amid tight security. The CEC praised the services of Rangers and Army for ensuring peace during the polls, adding that the LG polls was bigger election activity than the general elections held in 2013. He said the Local Government (LG) elections could be considered better than the general election 2013 given the deployment of well-trained manpower and efficient security measures.

He said 305,431 candidates contested the polls with over 8 million voters using their rights of franchise compared to the general elections 2013 in which 15,626 candidates took part.

Giving details of the election, the ECP head said more than 180 million ballot papers were printed for the activity for holding polls across the country through 69,801 polling stations.

The CEC said the Commission had successfully accomplished another task of holding LG elections across the country with its final phase held in Punjab and Sindh. He said that fulfilling its responsibility under Article 140-A of the Constitution, the Commission held LG elections on April 25 in Cantonment Boards and on May 30 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, he said, had made special arrangements for the LG polls , besides training and supervision of the polling staff. He said the input of polling staff also made this training process more efficient.

Extending his thanks to Pakistan Army, Rangers, police, media, polling staff and ECP officers, the CEC hoped that state institutions would continue extending their cooperation to the Commission in the future as well.

Justice (Retd) Sardar Raza Ahmed Khan was flanked by Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Zahid Saeed, District Coordination Officer Sajid Zafar Dall and District Returning Officer Javed Khan Afridi. He visited polling stations of Divisional Public School, Sadiqabad and a female polling station at Dhoke Raja Muhammad Khan where he took information from presiding officers about polling process.

Talking to media men at DPS polling station, Commissioner Rawalpindi Zahid Saeed said that the election commission has made comprehensive and effective arrangements in Rawalpindi. He said that polling was also being done in Chakwal and Attock where earlier elections were postponed.

He said that the government had imposed section 144 in the district and strict action would be taken against the violators.

On the other hand, DCO Sajid Zafar Dall also paid a visit to different polling stations and viewed polling process. Commissioner and Commander Pakistan Rangers also visited the control room set up in DCO Office and reviewed the results collection and monitoring process.

Results of the third and last phase of polling for local government elections held in twelve districts of Punjab and six districts of Karachi started pouring yesterday with PML-N leading in number of unofficially announced winning candidates.