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Sunday, February 25, 2024

ECP rejects Sindh govt’s decision to delay LG polls

The ECP has rejected the Sindh government's announcement and asserted that the second phase of LG polls will be held as per schedule.

In a major development, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected the Sindh government’s notification to postpone the second phase of LG polls in Sindh. The ECP ruled to hold the elections as per the schedule i.e. 15 January.

According to the details, shortly after the announcement by the Sindh government regarding the postponement of LG polls in Karachi and Hyderabad, the Election Commission of Pakistan called a session to discuss the situation.

During the session chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, it was decided that the LG polls would be held as per schedule. The ECP also decided to issue a judicial order to ensure the holding of local body elections. Orders will be issued to the Sindh government and administration.

“In case of non-implementation, the Election Commission has the authority to take contempt of court action against the responsible persons,” the ECP ruled.

Read more: Imran Khan slams ECP for not holding Islamabad LG polls despite IHC orders

Rejecting Sindh government notification and request, the ECP has also directed Interior Ministry to ensure the deployment of Rangers and Army on highly sensitive polling stations in Karachi and Hyderabad.

The PPP government in Sindh, in a surprise late-night move, had postponed the local bodies elections due to reservations of its coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) over existing delimitations.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon has said, “The ally – MQM – is important for us and we take them seriously, they have reservations over the delimitation so there will be no elections on January 15 in Karachi, Hyderabad, and Dadu.”

Read more: ECP responds to PTI decision to quit all assemblies

It was the fourth time that the polls were delayed by the Sindh government. 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 and police presence due to the flooding. The polls were then scheduled for August 28 and October 23 but were delayed back then as well.