The election for the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi’s office-bearers and members of the governing body, which take place once in two years, was perhaps the first such exercise that required the public to come out to cast their vote in a big number.

The exercise was also being looked forward to by the media because, although it was expected that the Ahmed Shah group would have an untroubled victory, the usual large turnout of voters due to the pandemic was not expected. (The Arts Council has around 6,000 registered voters.) And yet, on Sunday, Dec 20, the usual remained the usual — to a reasonable extent.

Members of the cultural space stepped out of their homes in a considerable number to cast their ballots, as a result of which the Ahmed Shah panel was declared winner by the deputy commissioner South at 2.30am on Monday.

There were 15 counters to which members needed to go as per their membership numbers.

Apart from the victorious bunch, there were two other panels — The Arts Forum and the Democratic Arts Forum — who had fielded their candidates. The voting process started at 10.15am (Sunday).

Writer and obstetrician Dr Shershah Syed was the first one to make his vote count. The council premises weren’t inundated with people in the morning, but as the sun went further up shining with all its wintry glory, men and women began to pour into the arena, creating a bit of a festive atmosphere. The last vote was put into the box a bit after 8pm.

According to official results, Ahmed Shah secured 1,813 votes to retain his post of president of the Arts Council. His opponents Najmuddin Sheikh of the Arts Forum got 231 votes and Sheikh Khalid Mehboob of the Democratic Arts Forum, 22.

Prof Aijaz Faruqi of the Ahmed Shah group bagged 1,851 votes to win the post of secretary for two more years. Mubasher Mir of the Arts Forum and Sikandar Iqbal of the Democratic Arts Forum got 217 and 24 votes, respectively.

Writer Haseena Moin won the vice presidency of the Arts Council with 1,895 votes and Asjad Bukhari became its joint secretary with 1,713 votes.

The following are the names of those who were elected members of the governing body: Talat Hussain (1,903), Dr Qaisar Sajjad (1,857), Kashif Girami (1,844), Qudsia Akbar (1,839), Munawwar Saeed (1,808), Iqbal Lateef (1,797), Noorul Huda Shah (1,790), Dr Ambareen Hasib (1,778), Saadat Jaffery (1,756), Bashir Sadozai (1,718), Nusrat Harris (1,665) and Dr Ayoub Shaikh (1,657).