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KARACHI: After a day-long consultation, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Saturday night announced that it would boycott the local government (LG) elections scheduled to take place today (January 15) in three divisions of Sindh, including Karachi and Hyderabad, according to private TV channels.

The Sindh government had postponed the Karachi and Hyderabad LG polls in response to an MQM-P demand.

However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected the provincial government’s notification on the postponement of LG polls and ruled that the local bodies elections would be held as per schedule on January 15. Earlier, amid speculation that the MQM-P could part ways with the coalition government or even boycott the elections, Bilawal offered the party some last-minute advice.

Talking to a private TV channel, he said the MQM-P was a “very old and senior” political party and advised it to “fully participate” in the LG elections, adding that the elections were very important so political parties could work together for the development of Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.

Karachi, Hyderabad: PSP, Farooq faction, MQM-P reunite ahead of LG polls

When asked what impact MQM-P’s departure from the coalition could have on the future of the federal government, Bilawal said: “I think this decision of leaving the government will be a non-political one. I think such a decision won’t be taken and the federal government is confident on its [strength of] numbers — if such a phase comes then we will manage it.”

He said the PPP was in continuous contact with its ally at the Centre but it was currently focused on Sunday’s elections and convincing voters to come and vote.

BR Staff reporter adds: The much awaited local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad would be held as per schedule on Sunday, January 15 (today). The second round of LG elections was scheduled to take place on July 24 last year, but the Sindh government excused itself from holding the polls over the lack of security as the police was engaged in flood-hit areas. Later, the elections were also postponed on August 28, October 23, and today, the announcement was made for the polls on January 15. A total of 8857 polling stations have been set up by ECP for second phase of LG polls while 17863 candidates will contest the polls. All educational institutions in Karachi and Hyderabad remained closed on Saturday in connection with the preparations for the local bodies’ elections. “The public and private institutions under the Administration of School Education and Literacy Department of respective districts remained closed on Saturday,” a notification issued by the School Education and Literacy Department said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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