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ECP sticks to Jan 15 date for LG elections in Karachi, Hyderabad

Overrules Sindh government request, orders province to ensure availability of Rangers, army; JI delays sit-in
A woman casts her ballot while other wait for their turn at a polling station during the general election in Karachi, Pakistan, July 25, 2018. Reuters
A woman casts her ballot while other wait for their turn at a polling station during the general election in Karachi, Pakistan, July 25, 2018. Reuters

The local government elections in Karachi, Hyderabad other districts would be held as per schedule on January 15, the Election Commission said on Friday. It overruled Sindh’s request to postpone it.

“The interior ministry should be told that it should ensure the deployment of army and Rangers in sensitive polling stations during elections,” the ECP said in a statement.

The country’s top electoral authority met today after the Sindh government in a late Thursday decision said that the local bodies would be postponed for Karachi, Hyderabad, and Dadu as it accepted MQM-P’s demand to redraw constituency boundaries.

The second phase of LG elections in Sindh has been facing several delays due to “rains triggered by floods” and “inadequate” staff members of the police to ensure security on polling day.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said on Thursday that the polls in seven districts – Tando Allahyar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal and Jamshoro – would go ahead as planned on Jan 15.

“The notification to hold the polls on the basis of the existing delimitation has also been withdrawn on the demand of the coalition partner, the MQM-P,” he had said.

Sindh will ‘wait and see’

The provincial government would wait until something is received in “black and white” from the commission to make any decisions.

“Rangers and army are not available for election duties,” Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon told Aaj News. He added that the interior ministry had excused the provincial government from providing the personnel in reply to the provincial government’s request as the army was “busy in anti-terror operations”.

“One thing has happened, how can it happen again?” he wondered.

PTI wants all polling stations to be declared ‘sensitive’

The PTI has reiterated its demand for declaring every polling station “sensitive” in Karachi and Hyderabad.

“This is a very good decision. The ECP should also provide staff. I urge people to actively take part in the LG elections,” he said. “We are ready for elections.

He demanded that the ECP had to ensure the presence of the staff on the polling day.

JI delays sit-in

The Jamaat-e-Islami has delayed its decision, announced just an hour ago, to stage a sit-in outside the ECP Office in Karachi.

JI’s Karachi Ameer Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, who joined Aaj News to speak on the development, reiterated that the PPP and the MQM were running away from the elections.

“The people should come out in large numbers to vote,” he said.

When asked about another postponement after the decision, he said that quick rapid force was available to provide security and expressed hope PPP and MQM-P would face defeat in the elections.

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