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KARACHI: Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon on Friday said that Sindh Cabinet has withdrawn notification regarding determination of union councils and wards under section 10 (1) of Local Government Act using its constitutional and legal authority.

Some parties including MQM-P had reservations on delimitation of LG constituencies and government wanted to provide all parties a level playing field in the elections, he said while talking to media persons after inauguration of first route of Pakistan’s first electric bus service.

Sharjeel Memon said that he respected all the constitutional institutions including the Election Commission of Pakistan and Sindh government was bound to implement the directives of the constitutional bodies.

Some powers were vested with the courts, some with the Election Commission and others with the governments, as well, he said and added that Sindh government had the authority to issue and withdraw the notification for determining number of Union Councils, Union Committees and Wards in Municipal Committees and Town Committees under section 10 (1) Sindh Local Government Act.

The Sindh Cabinet had withdrawn the notification using its constitutional and legal authority, he maintained, asserting that Election Commission could not reject the Sindh government’s notification under the law nor can the Sindh government interfere in the powers of the ECP.

The ECP’s decision had not received formally so far and he had come to know through the media, Sharjeel said and added when the written decision would be received, the legal team would be consulted about it and responded accordingly.

The minister said that some parties had concerns about it while Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan clearly demanded fresh delimitation. “We want all parties to be provided with a level playing field to participate in the elections,” he said.

Referring to security arrangements for polling, the provincial minister said that the power to deploy the armed forces personnel at the polling stations was at the discretion of the federal government that had turned down the request for deployment of force in Karachi on pretext of its engagement in ongoing operation against terrorism.

He said that if ECP considers deployment of the army at sensitive polling stations, it should contact the federal government or suggest an alternative to the Sindh government.

He said that Sindh cabinet discussed law and order and IG Sindh had briefed about terror threat alerts in Sindh whereas such incidents had already occurred in KPK and Balochistan.

IGP Sindh said that 62,000 policemen were required for local bodies’ elections. He said and questioned “If policemen are removed from mosques, imambargahs and other places and posted at polling stations, then who will be responsible if any untoward incident happens?”

Sharjeel said that due to flood water in two Tehsils of Dadu district- Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah- a letter was written to the Election Commission before the Sindh Cabinet meeting, but the reply has not been received yet.

He said that water was still standing in those tehsils and how people could exercise their right to vote.

He said that Sindh government had requested ECP to conduct LG elections in Matiari, Tando Allahyar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Jamshoro, Badin, Sajawal, Thatta and Dadu district except of the two flood affected tehsils of Dadu.

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