KARACHI: In a late-night development, the Sindh government announced that the long awaited local government elections, scheduled for Jan 15, would not be held in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.
According to the announcement, polls in seven districts – Tando Allahyar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal and Jamshoro – will go ahead as planned on Jan 15.
Addressing a press conference in the early hours of Friday, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon also announced that the notification to hold the polls on the basis of the existing delimitation had also been withdrawn on the demand of their ‘coalition partner’, the MQM-P, which had serious reservations with it.
The MQM-P had rejected the delimitation of local government constituencies and, terming them “unjustified”, demanded the withdrawal of the notification issued in this regard.
Delimitation notification withdrawn amid MQM-P protest
At the hurriedly-called press conference, Mr Memon said that the provincial government had already written to the Election Commission of Pakistan for the postponement of local government elections in Dadu since swathes of the district were still under floodwaters.
The decision came after an emergency meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party, presided by party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and attended by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers and the district presidents of the party’s Karachi chapter, among others.
Prior to the PPP meeting, the Sindh Cabinet had postponed a meeting of its own, where the issue was expected to be taken up.
Mr Memon said that the party meeting discussed the demands of PDM coalition partners.
This is the third time that the second phase of local government elections in Sindh has been postponed.
The term of the local governments had expired on Aug 30, 2020, and the ECP is bound to hold elections within 120 days of this.
The electoral exercise was originally scheduled for July 24, but was postponed due to the unprecedented monsoon rains and flash flooding that inundated large parts of the province.
The ECP later rescheduled the LG polls for Aug 28, but they were deferred again due to the flood situation and a shortage of police personnel in Karachi.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2023