Sindh govt again requests ECP to delay Karachi, Hyderabad LG polls

Sindh govt again requests ECP to delay Karachi, Hyderabad LG polls

Karachi (Web Desk): The Sindh government on Saturday once again requested the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to postpone local government (LG) polls citing the law and order situation.

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 comes 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.