KARACHI: A day after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement blamed it for a delay in holding the next phase of local government elections, the Sindh government sent an official request to the Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday to issue a schedule for indirect elections on over 9,500 reserved seats in the province.

On Sunday, the MQM criticised the Sindh government and the ECP for failing to hold the elections on reserved seats and of mayor, deputy mayor, chairman and vice chairman of municipal corporations and committees over one month after the completion of the three phases of LG elections in the province.

The same day the ECP claimed that the Sindh government had not notified the reserved seats in the province and warned that it would issue the election schedule on its own on Friday.

On Monday, the provincial local government department issued a notification for the election on reserved seats for women, labourers, youths and minorities across Sindh.

ECP sources told Dawn that they had received the Sindh government’s notification and the schedule for the indirect elections would be announced on Jan 15.

The ECP fixed Jan 14 for the oath-taking ceremonies of the over 12,000 councillors-elect in Sindh province.

However, only two of the six Karachi districts — Central and East — have finalised their oath-taking ceremonies.

The ceremony of Central district would be held at the auditorium of the Karachi Medical and Dental College at 2.30pm on Jan 14. Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeeshan Akhtar would administer the oath to the councillors-elect of the district.

In East district, the ceremony would be held at Dr A.Q. Khan Auditorium of the Federal Urdu University on Jan 14 at10am where the councillors-elect would be administered the oath by Additional District and Session Judge Dr Shabana Waheed.

Official sources said that the oath-taking ceremonies would also be held in the remaining four districts of Karachi on Thursday, but their timing and the venue was yet to be finalised.

MQM demo at ECP office today

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement will hold a peaceful demonstration outside the offices of the Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday (today) in protest against the delay in announcement of schedule for the elections of reserved seats and mayor and deputy mayor.

Also on Monday, a four-member MQM delegation called on provincial Election Commissioner Tanveer Zaki and presented him a letter through which the party expressed its concern over a delay in the election of reserved local government seats.

The delegation comprised Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan, MQM’s nominee for the Karachi deputy mayor office Dr Arshad Vohra, MPA Muhammad Hussain and Zahid Mansoori.

Later, talking to newsmen after the MQM’s parliamentary party meeting in the Sindh Assembly, Khawaja Izhar said that the MQM delegation highlighted its reservations on the delaying tactics in holding LG elections on reserved seats for women, youths, labourers and minorities and of mayor, deputy mayor, chairman and vice chairman.

About the meeting of the MQM’s parliamentary party, he said that it decided to expose the ongoing cleanliness campaign in Karachi by the local government minister, which was a mere photo session and an attempt to embezzle funds.

He asked as to why the so-called cleanliness campaign was launched in Karachi and not in Larkana, Sukkur, Hyderabad.

He said the ongoing Rangers-led operation should be extended to entire Sindh as it was carried out under the National Action Plan and not under any Karachi Action Plan.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2016

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