KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party, which emerged as the single largest party in January 15 local government elections in Karachi, on Sunday asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct the election for city mayor before holding by-polls on 11 union committees (UCs) where elections were not held due to the death of candidates.

PPP leader and Sindh Labour, Information and Human Resource Minister Saeed Ghani said this while addressing a press conference held to welcome former Muttahida Qaumi Movement MNA Khawaja Sohail Mansoor and some others into his party fold.

Mr Ghani, who’s also Karachi chapter president of PPP, said the ECP would set a dangerous example by deferring the Karachi mayoral election till by-polls on the vacant UCs in the city.

He said that such a decision on the part of the ECP would open such a Pandora’s Box that would create serious problems for forthcoming elections for the top offices of prime minister and chief minister in the country.

Ghani asks JI to contest by-election on nine NA seats in Karachi; former MQM MNA joins PPP

He said the house of the City Council would be completed with elections on reserved seats.

The minister said the PPP point of view was that after local government elections, polls should immediately be held to fill reserved seats and elect the mayor and chairmen of the municipal agencies in the city.

Answering a question, he said that not a single notification had been issued by the ECP so far to formally declare the result of the local government elections in any union committee of the city.

He said the PPP had no objection to applications filed by the Jamaat-i-Islami for recounting of votes in certain constituencies of the city. “Our demand is that applications filed by our candidates for recounting of votes should be considered in the same manner,” said Mr Ghani.

He added that the PPP would contest forthcoming by-elections in nine constituencies of Karachi.

He said the PPP wanted that the JI should also contest the same by-polls so that people should come to know about the popularity of both parties in the city. “One should know how many votes Jamaat-i-Islami has secured from the city in all the elections after 2002.”

He said the ECP was empowered to carry out delimitation of constituencies in the city as the population of each constituency could range between 50,000 and 75,000 as per law and the number of voters could vary by 10 per cent.

Out of 246 union committees in Karachi, only three UCs of Karachi’s suburban areas had a population of less than 30,000, said Sindh Labour Minister.

He said the government till 2013 had been empowered to finalise delimitation of the constituencies for conducting the local government polls.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2023

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