ECP says Karachi LG polls to be held on Jan 15

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday announced that the local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad would be held within 60 days on January 15, 2023, which have been delayed repeatedly.

Earlier, the ECP had reserved its judgment after a five-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Raja Sultan Sikander on November 15.

In the ruling, the ECP ordered the Sindh government, chief secretary, and inspector general of police to provide a sufficient number of security personnel for election duty at the polling stations, offices of district returning officers, returning officers (RO), polling staff, and transportation of polling material to and from the offices of the ROs.

“Further, the federal government through the secretary of the interior ministry is directed to provide a sufficient number of security personnel from other law enforcement agencies,” it stated.

In a notice issued on November 16, the ECP said that the announcement of order had been set for next week. The time for announcing it was set at 10am, but it has been extended to 3pm.

The ECP had taken up the case after the conduct of second phase of local government elections in the province were deferred on one pretext or another for at least three times.

On November 18, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had directed the ECP to announce a new schedule for the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad.

“We would not go so far as to dictate the date of the election or direct the manner in which the same ought to be conducted or policed, but would note that the ECP may notify the polling date, preferably within a period of 15 days from the date of this order,” the SHC judgment reads.

The court asked the ECP to specify a fresh polling date and preferably conclude the overall exercise of the “election in any event within a total period of 60 days”.

The judgment, which was reserved on November 14 on the petitions of JI and PTI against the delay in the local body polls, also says the Sindh government should provide security for executing the process.

Political parties and people have been waiting for the local government elections which have been delayed multiple times since July after the provincial government repeatedly refrained from providing security for the elections due to floods.

The elections were initially scheduled for July 24, but they were delayed due to “bad weather and rains”. Then, polling was set to take place on August 28 and October 23, but the provincial government refused to provide security.

In its latest move to delay the polling further, the provincial cabinet, under Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, had earlier this month had approved delaying the polls.

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