KARACHI: Two days before the local government elections in Badin and Sanghar, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday transferred its key officials in the two districts due to unspecified reasons.

The District Election Commissioners of Badin and Sanghar are among the 13 such officers in Sindh — and 48 across the country — who have been transferred and given new assignments.

While no reason has been cited for such a massive reshuffle, the ECP said that the move was “in the public interest”.

An ECP notification issued from Islamabad reads: “The postings/transfers of the officers under the Election Commission of Pakistan is made in the public interest with immediate effect and until further orders.”

It said that Badin district election commissioner (DEC) Abdul Samad Khan was transferred to Islamabad and Karachi DEC Abdul Zubair Khan was posted in his place with immediate effect.

Likewise, Sanghar DEC Muhammad Hajan Abbasi was transferred to Ghotki and Sukkur DEC Abdul Rahman Arain was posted in his place in Sanghar.

Sanghar and Badin are the two districts where LG elections were scheduled to be held in the second phase on November 19, 2019. However, due to a poor law and order situation and fears of political clashes the LG election in Sanghar was completely postponed. In Badin, the elections on some union councils could not be held.

Later, on the request of the Sindh government, the ECP again postponed the LG elections scheduled for Dec 17, 2015 in the two districts due to law and order concerns and announced that a fresh date would be fixed after a visible improvement in the law and order situation in the two districts.

Finally, the ECP fixed Jan 23 for the LG elections in Sanghar and in some UCs of Badin after the Sindh government submitted a report about satisfactory law and order.

According to the ECP notification, DEC Hisamuddin Soomro was transferred from Jacobabad to DEC Malir in Karachi; DEC Muslim Hasnain from Mithi to Larkana; DEC Navid Aziz from Malir to Mithi; Tabinda Khaleeque was posted as Karachi-East DEC; DEC Pervaiz Ahmed Kalhoro was transferred from Larkana and posted as deputy director-Sindh; DEC Ibrar Ahmed Jatoi from Ghotki to Rajanpur; DEC Ahmed Ali Abbasi from Khairpur to Umerkot; DEC Masood Ahmed Qureshi was posted as Khairpur DEC and DEC Chato Jiskani was transferred from Umerkot to Jaffarabad.

LG polls nomination process to complete today

The election commission that started issuing nomination papers to candidates on Monday for elections on the seats reserved for women, youth, farmers/ labourers and non-Muslims in the local government institutions will complete the process on Thursday, which is also the last day to deposit the nomination papers.

Polling on 939 reserved seats in metropolitan corporation, municipal corporation, district municipal corporation and district councils will be held on Feb 8. For 9,772 reserved seats in municipal committees, town committees, union committees and union councils, polling will be held on Feb 14.

There are 10,711 reserved seats for which candidates will be voted for by 12,622 elected representatives of the local government institutions in Sindh. There are 4,645 seats reserved for women councillors, 2,022 for youths, 2,022 for farmers/labourers and 2,022 for non-Muslim candidates in the local government institutions in Sindh.

According to the election schedule announced by the election commission, the scrutiny of the nomination papers will be done on Jan 22 and 23, while appeal against acceptance or rejection of the nomination papers can be filed by Jan 25 which will be decided by Jan 27. The candidates can withdraw their nomination papers on Jan 28 and on the same day, the election symbol will be allotted to the candidates in the field.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2016