Friday, December 1, 2023

Karachi LG polls deferral verdict reserved

The hearing was attended by PPP’s Murtaza Wahab, JI’s Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, and MQM’s Wasim Akhtar.

IG Sindh, chief secretary Sindh, and secretary of local government attended.

ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal told the election watchdog that LG polls were initially postponed owing to rainfall, but Sindh’s provincial administration authorised another 90-day delay.

“Delay in local body polls is a violation of Supreme Court’s ruling,” the secretary said, adding that the elections should be held as soon as possible.

Iqbal said the ECP will hold elections in Karachi. ECP secretary asked Interior Ministry about Frontier Corps (FC) and Pakistan Rangers’ role in providing security and maintaining law and order during local government polls.

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Interior official: Most security forces are still providing security in flood-affected Sindh.

“We can’t meet local election security needs,” the official stated. “We can’t deploy civil armed forces for these elections.”

Again, Sindh rejects security. Karachi Administrator and Sindh Government Spokesperson Murtaza Wahab stated the second phase of polls was postponed twice owing to rain and flood. 25-30% of “Sindh” is submerged, he said.

Karachi’s elections can’t have security or administrative workers. Each of Karachi’s 1,300 polling stations requires eight officials “”Wahab,”

“Are you not able to guarantee security?” said CEC Raja, noting the electoral commission and CEC can choose a date for municipal elections.

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Wahab was concerned about security, so Raja stated elections should be held in 120 days. Punjab will also hold LG elections, he said.

The administrator said the Sindh government executed the first phase of elections with mutual understanding.

Wahab said the Sindh government approved a 90-day delay. ECP member wondered how Sindh government may use commission’s authority.

“By law, the Sindh government is responsible for announcing local elections,” said Wahab, adding that the province will discuss with the ECP.

The commissioner asked Sindh to ask Punjab for police to fill the security gap.

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