IFTIKHAR ALAM and FIDA HUSSNAIN

LAHORE - Although turnout in the cantonment elections was lower than that of last general election, women led men in voting that held amid tight security on Saturday.

Reported turnout was 20 percent in the elections that was observed with traditional fervour and zeal. Roads, streets and walls were decorated with banners, posters and flags of political parties.

The trend of bringing women to the mainstream politics was set by PTI, but the lady supporters of PML-N and independent candidates also showed up. Women also took children to the election venues. The supporters were seen zealous all the day outside the polling stations. As a show of solidarity with the candidates, dances, drum-beats and sloganeering continued till late night.

The lawmen augmented security to avert untoward incident during the elections that were held after 17 years. Video, still cameras, mobile phones and other digital equipments were not allowed to enter in the polling booths. Polling started at 8am morning and concluded at 5pm.

The Election Commission of Pakistan had already issued code of conduct for the candidates and their supporters for ensuring free and fair elections. It had prohibited the setting up of parties' election camps or affixing their flags, posters and banners 100metre from of the polling stations.

Keeping in view, the political parties especially PML-N, PTI, JI, PPP and independent candidates had arranged their stalls outside the polling stations. Decorated with party flags, the party workers were seen present at the campus all the day. Food, juices and cold water were being served by the party workers to voters. Disabled and elder persons were also seen visiting polling station to cast their votes.

Local leaders of PML-N, PTI and JI visited various campuses where the voting was underway to overview the arrangements made by their workers. However, they were not allowed to visit the polling stations.

Only the media persons and election observer authorities were permitted to visit the polling station to overview the arrangements and transparency in the election.

Police sources said around 5,000 policemen were deployed in all polling stations for security arrangements. However they were deployed on outer cordon while the inner cordon of the security was in full control of army.

CCPO Capt (r) Amin Vains himself supervised security arrangements. He along with senior officers visited various polling stations to check arrangements.

Talking to the media after casting his vote at a polling station in DHA Lahore, Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique hoped his party – PML-N - would sweep the LG election in all the cantonment boards of the country.

He said this time also, people would endorse the mandate given to the N-League in the general election 2013.

Rafique termed PTI chairman Imran Khan a ‘newborn’ in politics and advised him not “to conduct politics of vengeance but focus on performance oriented politics.”

He said that Khan attacked democracy while standing on a container whereas PML-N is being tried for last two years.