Pakistan

Karachi LG polls: JI cries foul over results delay

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Hafiz Naeemur Rahman, Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami's Karachi chapter, on Sunday threatened to stage protest sit-ins acros the city if the results of the much-awaited second phase of local body elections in Sindh were not announced on time.

The remarks come amid an unusual delay in the announcement of the results, which were expected to come out by 10pm as per media reports. The voting began in 16 districts of the province at 8am and continued till 5pm without any break.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Naeem said that the presiding officers were bound to give Forms 11 and 12 as per law but some Deputy Commissioners working in favour of the PPP-led Sindh government were interfering in the process.

He said that his party had not been provided with the forms even after 10pm.

Also read: MQM-P boycotts LG elections in Sindh

"If the forms are not provided in the next one hour and the ROs do not announce the results, there will be sit-ins across the city," he warned, adding that the party would announce its strategy after consultation.

The JI leader urged party workers and people to surround the polling stations. "We will not allow rigging and let them steal our mandate," he said.

He further said that JI will congratulate whoever comes out victorious but interfering in the results was unacceptable.

Despite delaying tactics and uncertainty swirling over the holding of the final phase of the local government elections for over two years, the polling was finally held. However, the MQM-P – one of the most popular political parties in the two cities – boycotted the elections.

Yesterday, there had also been a delay in the distribution of polling materials from the dispatch centres established in all the districts of the city. However, ballot boxes, ballot paper, ink and other supplies were distributed by the evening.

A total of 17,862 candidates are competing against each other out of which 9,057 are from Karachi, 6,228 from Hyderabad and 2,577 from Thatta division.

There are over four million voters in Karachi, for whom 4,990 polling stations were built. Of these 3,415 were sensitive, 1,496 were highly sensitive and 79 were declared normal.

The seven districts of Karachi Division were divided into 25 towns. District Central is the largest district with five towns and 45 union committees, where the number of registered votes is over two million.

District East is the second largest district with five towns and 43 union committees and about 1.4 million voters.

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has said that “very low” voter turnout in the local body polls has shown that people of Karachi and Hyderabad have rejected the “illegitimate” elections.

“Very low voters’ turnout has proved that local body elections were illegal, hence the people of Karachi and Hyderabad have rejected this attempt at pre-poll rigging,” MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told reporters on Sunday.

He was addressing the press conference along with other party leaders, including Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Kamal, and others at party’s Bahadurabad headquarters in Karachi.

“No one will accept these local body elections as they have no legal status and the people have rejected this conspiracy to snatch their rights,” he added.

Siddiqui said that the majority of the voters did not turn up at the polling stations “which is a referendum in favour of the MQM’s boycott”.

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