Karachi, Hyderabad LG polls to be held on Jan 15 as per schedule: ECP

Karachi, Hyderabad LG polls to be held on Jan 15 as per schedule: ECP

Karachi (Web Desk): The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday stated that the local government election in Karachi and Hyderabad will be held on January 15 (Sunday) as per the schedule.

Earlier today, the Sindh government once again requested the to postpone local government (LG) polls citing the law and order situation.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja chaired an emergency meeting held to review to discuss the provincial government's request and decided that there would be no change in the schedule.

Election Commission Secretary Umar Hameed and provincial election commissioner Aijaz Anwer Chohan also attended the meeting via video link.

In a letter to the ECP, the provincial authorities cited input from the intelligence agencies regarding terror threats and “reiterated the request that the 2nd Phase of local government elections to the extent of Karachi Division and Hyderabad District be postponed till such time that the required security is available at the polling stations.

The request came less than 24 hours after the ECP on Friday rejected the provincial government's request for the postponement of LG polls, saying that elections will be held on January 15 as per schedule.

The decision was taken by the ECP members during a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja at its headquarters in Islamabad.

Earlier, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in Sindh, in a surprise late-night move, had postponed the local bodies elections due to reservations of its coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) over existing delimitations.

On Monday, the ECP ruled that the local bodies elections in Karachi and Hyderabad will be held as per schedule on January 15.

A 3-member bench of the ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja announced the earlier reserved verdict on the petition filed by the MQM challenging the decision of the electoral body for the prospective use of two separate electoral rolls in the upcoming elections simultaneously.

The ECP rejected the plea, directing the Sindh government to complete arrangements for the elections, adding that the chief secretary and the law-enforcement agencies should also ensure that the elections were held as per the schedule and on the previous voter list.

The ECP had scheduled the second phase of local government polls in Sindh on July 24, 2022, but then it postponed them because of torrential rains and subsequent floods in the province.

The electoral body rescheduled the LG elections for August 28, but they were put off again for the same reason.

On October 18, the ECP rescheduled the elections for October 23, but the provincial government sought their postponement for three months.

Later, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) moved the Sindh High Court, which on November 15 instructed the ECP to announce the date for the LG elections within 15 days.