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ISLAMABAD: Against the backdrop of fingers being pointed at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over alleged lack of transparency in the first phase of local government elections in the 14 districts of Sindh, senior leadership of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Tuesday called on Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja—in what appeared to be a bid on part of the electoral body’s top management to allay the concerns of the political party over election-related issues in Sindh.

The MQM-P delegation led by Convenor Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui met the CEC on the latter’s invitation.

The CEC is said to have assured the visiting delegates that their concerns regarding recently held LG elections, delimitation of constituencies and voter lists in Sindh would be duly looked into.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Siddiqui, the MQM-P’s Convenor, said, “Other than governorship, the MQM-P’s political freedom is also stalled.”

The MQM-P delegation would hold a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday (today) to convey the concerns, he said.

MQM-P leader Farogh Naseem, who was part of CEC-MQM-P meeting, said, the MQM-P intended to move a petition in ECP against what he alleged was foul play in the LG elections.

“The CEC assured that our reservations would be duly addressed,” Naseem said, adding the CEC asked the delegation to get the related petition ready— and ECP would hear it.

“The delimitation of constituencies in Sindh is a blatant gerrymandering,” Naseem, a former law minister, stated.

On Sunday, LG elections were held in Larkana, Kambar Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Umarkot and Tharparkar.

Some 20,352 out of 21,298 candidates contested for 5,331 out of 6,277 seats—with 946 candidates already elected unopposed in LG elections.

As many as 9,023 polling stations were set up for LG polls, out of which, 2,145 were marked as highly sensitive, 3,482 as sensitive and 3,396 polling stations were marked as normal.

However, the polls saw several incidents of violence in different parts of the province, claiming the lives of at least three people.

Including MQM-P, eight political parties have categorically rejected the results of LG elections in Sindh where Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has grabbed lion’s share.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Sindh United Party (SUP), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), and Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) are the political parties, besides MQM-P, that have strongly rejected the LG polls results. They have demanded that the polls be declared null and void and fresh elections be held.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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