The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is in the driving seat as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday released the final consolidated results of all 235 union councils in Sindh’s Karachi division, where polling was held on Jan 15 for the post of chairman and vice chairman. According to the complete results, PPP won 93 union council seats followed by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) which won 86 seats, PTI won 40 seats, PML-N seven seats, independent candidates and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam three seats each, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan two seats whereas Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan secured a single seat for itself. PTI also suffered a major setback in Karachi local bodies polls when Khurram Sher Zaman – who was considered the party’s candidate for the top slot of the mayor – lost to PPP’s Najmi Alam in Saddar. Meanwhile, PPP has won 27 out of 160 union committees of nine towns of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) while PTI emerged victorious on nine UCs, JI on one and one independent candidate won, according to unofficial and inconclusive results. For the first time in history, the PPP is now in a position to win the post of mayor of the second-largest city of the province; it is already leading on 31 seats of chairmen and vice chairmen. With results of 58 seats pending, the PPP needs 23 more seats to have its mayor. The HMC consists of nine town committees having a total of 160 union councils with four wards in each UC. Likewise, 124 ward councillors from PPP, five from MQM-P, four from PTI, one each from Qaumi Awami Tehreek and TLP besides eight independents have emerged victorious uncontested. The polling on five seats of chairmen and vice chairmen and six of general ward members had been postponed because of the deaths of contesting candidates, while three seats of general ward members are vacant with no contestant. In district Jamshoro, PPP faced some upsets in Jamshoro, Kotri, Sann and Mehar, while the Mirza group was completely wiped out from district Badin. The delay in the release of results – despite the polling being closed at 5pm on Sunday -prompted rigging allegations from the opposition parties – Jamat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F). However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) claimed that the results were compiled in a transparent manner, while the PPP-led government also denied its involvement in rigging the polls. The voting which kicked off at 8am on Sunday – continued uninterrupted with reports of sporadic clashes – ended at 5pm on the same day, but the results were not released, prompting rigging claims. As hundreds of thousands of people headed to vote in a bid to elect their local representatives, many political parties had also earlier complained and demanded the ECP to increase the polling time as the process began late at some of the stations – which was accepted in some polling stations. Around 8,706 polling stations were set up for the local body polls with 1,204 for males and 1,170 for females in the two divisions – Karachi and Hyderabad. Out of the total polling station, over 8,000 were declared as “sensitive” or “highly sensitive.” It is pertinent to mention here that 830 candidates – seven in Karachi and 823 in Hyderabad – have been elected unopposed in the two divisions. In Hyderabad, 6,774 candidates contested for 1,675 seats of chairmen, vice chairmen of union councils/union committees, and the general wards.