- Directs provincial government to ensure security for the polls
The Sindh High Court has on Friday ordered immediate local government (LG) elections in Karachi and Hyderabad and directed the provincial government to ensure security needs for the polls, reported Aaj News.
The court concluded the hearing of petitions lodged by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
“Sindh government should provide security and other facilities for the elections,” the court directed.
It also rejected Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) petition that requested a delay in LG elections until amendment in local government laws were finalised.
The court will issue a written verdict later during the day.
The second phase of the Sindh LG elections was originally scheduled for July 24 but the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) moved it to August 28 citing “possible rains and bad weather” in Sindh.
On August 24, the ECP postponed the polls for a second time due to persistent rains and risk of urban flooding and announced that voting would be held on October 23.
On October 18, the ECP delayed the polls once again on request of the Sindh government, which said that there were difficulties in providing security for the elections as it is facing a shortage of 16,000 police personnel.
On November 16, federal and Sindh governments refused to provide the required assistance to the ECP for 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 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.