KARACHI: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Friday approached the Sindh High Court against postponement of the second phase of local government (LG) elections in Sindh.

City chief of JI Hafiz Naeemur Rehman and another JI leader filed a petition stating that the four-year tenure of the previously elected local governments in Sindh had expired on Aug 30, 2020 and instead of holding elections, the Sindh government had appointed administrators across the province.

They argued that Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab was a political person and allegedly providing government machinery and funds to the candidates of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to promote and build their campaign and image.

Citing the Election Commission of Pakistan, provincial election commissioner and Sindh chief secretary as respondents, the petitioners argued that the LG polls were postponed with mala fide intention and sought a directive the for ECP to announce an early date for holding elections.

They submitted that initially, the Sindh government had deliberately delayed the delimitation process by not providing the details and required maps of union committees while the ECP was bound to hold elections within 120 days after the end of the tenure of the previous LG government.

Thereafter, the petitioners submitted that the provincial government had provided the data after the ECP had issued a warning.

The JI had serious reservations over voter list and the delimitation, which was carried out totally on political grounds to provide maximum benefit to the ruling party in Sindh, but still it welcomed the LG elections, it added.

They argued that the ECP had postponed the elections just three days before the second phase scheduled to be held on July 24 in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions and fixed Aug 28 as the new date for polling.

They contended that the reasons incorporated in the impugned notification of the ECP to postpone the LG elections were lame excuses having no base.

Some political parties were pressuring for the postponement of the polls and they succeeded in manipulation of their aim to delay it, they added.

The petitioners submitted that the ECP had cited Muharram and forecast of heavy rain as reasons to delay the elections. They argued that the Met office had been issuing such forecasts for the past two months and only five per cent of such forecasts were found correct while Muharram was starting six days after the elections.

They further submitted that on June 24, the SHC had also dismissed the petitions of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan seeking postponement of the LG election and ruled that no case for staying the elections was made out by the petitioners.

The petitioners also pleaded to set aside the impugned notification and for publication of fresh ballot papers with different colours to avoid malpractice and rigging.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2022

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