KARACHI: The provincial government has once again approached the Election Commission seeking postponement of the Oct 23 local government elections in Karachi for three months due to its inability to provided adequate security.

Informed sources told Dawn that the election commissioner would take a decision on the Sindh government’s request at a meeting next week.

They said that though the provincial government moved a fresh request for the deferment of the LG polls, the decision to press it or otherwise would be taken in view of the results of the by-elections on two National Assembly constituencies in the city on Sunday.

The sources said that the provincial government on Oct 14 once again wrote to the election commissioner seeking postponement of local government elections. This was the third letter by the provincial government in this regard as it had sent on Oct 3 and Oct 12 similar requests.

In the fresh request, the provincial government informed the election commission that around 5,000 polling stations were to be established for smooth conduct of the election and of them around 1,305 had been categorised as “most sensitive” and 3,688 others as “sensitive”.

It was further told that the provincial government would require 39,293 police personnel for static deployment with polling stations and for other miscellaneous duties. The letter to the provincial election commissioner stated that in total 22,507 police personnel were available with the Karachi police and there was a shortfall of 16,786 policemen.

It said that the provincial government had planned to arrange 14,958 police personnel from other districts of the province and a reserve of 7,150 from the auxiliaries to fill the gap.

“However, in post-flood situation, Karachi police has to provide additional support to flood-affected districts where more force is required to ensure safety of internally displaced persons (IDPs), dispatch of relief goods and safety of the abandoned houses and properties left by IDPs due to flooding, and safety and regulation of traffic on highways and arteries to ensure supply chain moving to and from up country,” it said.

The provincial government also informed that a large number of IDPs had moved to different districts of Karachi where tent cities and other facilities had been arranged for them which also required deployment of police to ensure safety.

The election commission was requested to postpone the Oct 23 local government election in Karachi for three months so that the elections were conducted in a smooth and transparent manner with occurrence of any law and order situation.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2022

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