Election Commission Rejects MQM-P’s Call to Hold LG Elections in Karachi, Hyderabad According to New Electoral Roll
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday rejected the appeal of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), ruling that local elections in Karachi and Hyderabad will be held on January 15 as scheduled.
The decision came as the electoral body announced a reserved verdict on the MQM-P’s plea seeking grassroots elections in the new electoral rolls. The MQM-P had challenged the ECP’s decision on the future use of two separate electoral rolls in the local government polls.
A three-judge bench of the electoral body, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, reserved the verdict on Friday.
The ECP rejected MQM-P’s appeal but accepted the petition of Jamat-e-Islami (JI), which had approached the election watchdog to hold polls as per schedule.
Announcing the verdict today, the ECP directed the authorities to ensure that the elections are held on time.
During the last hearing, the chief election commissioner told MQM-P’s lawyer that he has gone to various forums, however, the issue of electoral rolls had never been raised before.
He told the lawyer to raise any other matter to be a club.
The CEC also observed that the lawyer is giving a wrong statement about the duplicate electoral rolls, rejecting his statement.
“Do you think you can postpone the elections again? Your arguments are irrelevant so far,” he noted.
CEC Raja also stressed that local elections in Karachi will not be delayed, saying it is the job of the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct the polls.
After the verdict, local elections in Sindh’s two most populous cities, which have been delayed several times, will be held on the old electoral rolls. The Election Commission has also completed all preparations to conduct the election process in Karachi and Hyderabad on January 15.
The ECP had told the Sindh government that the second phase of local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad would be held on July 24, 2022, but later postponed it due to torrential rains and subsequent floods in the province.
The electorate rescheduled the LG elections for August 28, but they were postponed again for the same reason. The commission had said that most polling stations had become inaccessible to voters.
On 18 October 2022, the ECP rescheduled the elections for 23 October, but the provincial government asked for its postponement for three months because it had deployed police in the flooded areas, due to which it was unable to provide the required level of security to the polling stations.
After repeated delays, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) moved the Sindh High Court, which on November 15, 2022, directed the ECP to announce the date for the elections. LG within 15 days.
On November 22, the ECP announced January 15 as the new date.