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ISLAMABAD: Federal and Sindh governments on Tuesday refused to provide the required assistance to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in holding local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions as the electoral body reserved its verdict in the case related to delay in LG polls in these two divisions comprising 16 districts.

The representatives of the federal Interior Ministry and the Sindh government appeared before the electoral body in the hearing of this case.

The Interior Ministry officials conveyed to the ECP that military and paramilitary personnel could not be assigned first-tier election duties in the LG polls due to their extensive engagements in different parts of the country.

The Sindh government cited the engagement of Sindh police in flood relief operations to refuse the provision of the required number of police personnel for security during LG polls in the two divisions.

The five-member ECP bench comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Muhammad Jatoi, Babar Hassan Bharwana, and former Justice Ikramullah Khan reserved verdict in the case, expected to be announced in the coming days.

Last month, the electoral entity accused the Interior Ministry of refusing to ensure the static deployment of military and paramilitary personnel in the LG elections for Karachi and Hyderabad divisions, which were scheduled on October 23, and announced to postpone these polls, for the third time, citing a shortage of security personnel.

On August 24, the ECP postponed the LG polls in all seven districts of the Karachi division— East, West, South, Central, Korangi, Keamari, and Malir— on account of torrential rains that triggered heavy flooding in various parts of Karachi and the rest of Sindh.

A day earlier, on August 23, the electoral body postponed the LG polls in nine districts of the Hyderabad division— Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Matiari, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Badin, Sujawal, and Thatta.

The polls in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions were earlier scheduled on July 24 under the second phase— but the ECP, on July 20, postponed these polls and rescheduled them to August 28 – keeping in view the weather forecast of heavy downpours in the monsoon season.

Under the first phase, the LG elections were held on June 26 this year in 14 districts of Sindh - Larkana, Kambar Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Naushehro Feroze, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, and Tharparkar. These polls saw allegations of widespread rigging from different political parties.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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