The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led Sindh government on Thursday announced the postponement of local government (LG) elections in Karachi, Hyderabad and Dadu and also withdrew the notification regarding new constituencies.
Speaking to journalists after a high-level meeting of the provincial government in Karachi, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that the LG polls in the remaining districts of Sindh will be held as per schedule.
The minister furthered that the decision has been taken after the Sindh cabinet meeting and was not taken on the “protest and threat of anyone”, however, he added that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) did have reservations about delimitations.
Memon added that the concerns of the MQM-P will be resolved at the government level as it is also the ruling PPP’s ally. Moreover, he cited security concerns in the province.
Read MQM-P stages protest against ‘biased delimitation of constituencies’
Subsequently, the Sindh government also wrote a letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and requested the electoral watchdog to postpone LB polls in Dadu district.
The letter stated that due to the post-flood situation, a large area of the district is still underwater.
“Holding LG elections will deprive [a] large section of society from their constitutional right to vote,” read the letter.
The latest development in the province’s LG polls comes just hours after the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal and MQM Organisation Restoration Committee founder Dr Farooq Sattar buried the hatchet and announced rejoining the MQM-P to “jointly raise voice for the rights of the people of urban areas of Sindh”.
During a press conference, in which the leaders announced the reunification of MQM-P, Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had warned that they would not let the local government polls take place on January 15 if the issue of delimitations was not fixed.
The MQM-P has rejected the delimitations held by the PPP-led Sindh government and the ECP in Karachi and has termed the process as unfair.
JI to stage protest outside ECP
Following the announcement of the Sindh government to postpone LG polls in the province, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi on Friday said it would stage a sit-in outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) today at 3 pm.
While holding an emergency press conference at Noor-ul-Haq Institute in Karachi, JI leader Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman rejected the announcement of the Sindh government and said that the elections were postponed due to fear of the people's mandate.
He added that the people were deprived of their democratic and political right.The second round of LG elections in 16 districts of Sindh were to be held on July 24, 2022.
However, the Sindh administration had excused itself from holding the polls over the lack of security and police presence because of the floods that wreaked havoc across the country, including Sindh.
Later, the LG elections were rescheduled for August 28 but the elections did not take place on that day and a new date was again set as October 23.
However, the polls were postponed on that date too.
Earlier this month, the ECP had ruled that the local government elections in Karachi, Hyderabad, and Thatta would be held on Jan 15 as per schedule.