KARACHI, July 18: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that the provincial government will request the Supreme Court for six months to hold local government elections in Sindh.

The chief minister was talking to a group of media persons at an Iftar dinner hosted by local government minister Awais Muzaffar at his Clifton residence on Thursday.

Though the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday directed the provinces to hold local bodies polls in September 2013, Sindh needed at least six months to sort out “a host of issues” for smooth functioning of the grassroots system.

“In principle, we support holding local bodies polls,” said Sindh law minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro. Since local bodies were a provincial subject, it was up to the province concerned to hold elections keeping in view the atmosphere for such an exercise.

“The Sindh government would request the superior judiciary to grant it at least six months to address certain issues for holding LB polls,” said the law minister. He said there were certain issues, such as delimitations carried out by the then chief minister Sindh Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, that needed to be sorted out.

“Law and order and delimitations would be the main issues hindering the LB polls,” said local government secretary Ali Ahmed Lund.

“The supreme court has given September as a tentative date,” said advocate general for Sindh Khalid Javed Khan. He said both the Sindh and Punjab governments had requested the apex court that they be given some time. He said on their request, the SC was expected to hold a hearing of the case on July 22, when the Sindh government would present its stance on the local bodies polls.

The top law officer of the province said that there were certain issues that needed to be resolved ahead of local bodies polls. He said there were ‘magisterial issues’ as the 1979 local bodies system had been enforced in Sindh, but the magisterial system had not been revived. Besides, the apex court had ordered carrying out delimitations but that exercise had not been done. Furthermore, Karachi was facing a particular law and order situation.

AG Javed said apart from that, there were a lot of ‘administrative issues’.

The Sindh AG said that when the SC would take up the issue on July 22, Sindh would seek more time to fulfil that task.

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