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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday rejected the Sindh government’s ruling, and announced that local government (LG) elections in Karachi, Hyderabad and Dadu will take place on January 15, reported Aaj News.

The decision was taken by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan in a meeting. The meeting considered the notification issued by the government of Sindh regarding LG polls.

The provincial government’s order was rejected on basis of legal and constitutional principles.

“Local government polls in Karachi and rest of Sindh will be held as per the schedule,” said CEC. “Army and Rangers officials should be posted at high-risk polling stations for security purposes.”

Earlier, the government of Sindh told ECP that it could not ensure presence of army personnel on every polling station during LG polls.

The ECP’s decision comes after the Sindh government announced on late Thursday night that the local government elections scheduled for January 15, 2023 will not be held in Karachi, Hyderabad and Dadu.

“However, elections will be held in the remaining districts of Sindh as per the election schedule announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) – i.e., January 15, 2023,” announced the government of Sindh.

‘Sindh government should hold elections’

Speaking to Aaj News, Jamaat-e-Islami President Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman said that Sindh government “should have no excuse for not holding the elections now because ECP has ordered to hold the polls.”

“LG elections give power to the winning party to resolve the issues of an area,” he said.

“Earlier, the government of Sindh clearly stated that it was ready for the elections. Security has already been allotted for it”

He stated that his party was calling off the protest that it had planned to hold outside ECP office later on Friday.

“We have called off the protest now that ECP has ordered elections. LG elections are need of the hour and we are happy with ECP’s ruling.”

“If anyone tries to create unrest, we will hold a protest against that,” he said.

‘ECP should provide security for polls’

Speaking to Aaj News on Friday, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that army personnel are busy staving off terrorism in the country “therefore, they cannot provide security for the polls.”

“ECP should provide security,” he said. “Sindh police officials will be engaged in LG polls throughout the province and we cannot divert all of them to Karachi.”

“ECP’s decision is completely constitutional and we respect it. However, the Ministry of Interior told us earlier that it was not in position to hold polls on Sunday.”

PTI asks people to participate in polls

Speaking to Aaj News, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Ali Zaidi said that “ECP gave its order but how can it ensure the availability of staff.”

“I call upon the public to come out of their homes and vote in the polls,” he said.

“ECP is responsible to ensure free and fair elections.”

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.

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Mumtaz Ahmed Jan 13, 2023 05:17pm
Is it okay to carry on the governance like this ?
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Mushtaque Ahmed Jan 13, 2023 09:58pm
Where is the Sindh Police providing flood relief service today?
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