Around 4,500 registered voters of the Arts Council of Pakistan participated in the biennial elections of the council’s office-bearers on Sunday.
The candidates belonged to different walks of life and fields of arts. In recent years, the Arts Council has played a crucial role in the development of art and culture of the city. Even during 2020, when cultural activities seemed to have come to a standstill in Karachi owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the council managed to continue with multiple theatre festivals and other programmes, including the International Urdu Conference.
According to the chief election commissioner of the Arts Council elections, the polls were held for the positions of presidents, secretary and 16 governing body members. For the last 13 years, Ahmed Shah-Ejaz Farooqi Panel has been winning the elections with a majority of seats. Shah is also currently the council’s president.
Two other panels standing for the elections included the Arts Forum and the Democrats Arts Forum. For the post of the president, the contestants were Shah, Arts Forum’s Najamuddin Sheikh and Democrats Arts Forum’s Sheikh Khalid Mehboob.
For the post of vice-president, Haseena Moin of the Ahmed Shah-Ejaz Farooqi Panel contested against Col Mukhtar Ahmed of the Arts Forum and Dr Nadeem Asif of the Democrats Arts Forum.
For the post of secretary, the contestants included Ejaz Faruqi of the Ahmed Shah-Ejaz Farooqi Panel, Mubasher Mir of the Arts Forum and Sikander Iqbal of the Democrats Arts Forum.
The polls started at 10am and lasted till 8pm. As many as 10 people served as the returning officers and presiding officers and 15 polling booths were formed to implement social distancing and Covid-19 standard operating procedures. Votes were still being counted when this story was filed in the late hours of Sunday.