KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party workers staged protest demonstrations in several Sindh towns on Friday, demanding election to reserved seats and swearing-in of councillors fixed for June 10 be rescheduled to an earlier date and mayors and chairmen be allowed to work as soon as possible.

They contended the delay would deprive people Sindh of the benefits of the LG system.

In demonstrations held across Karachi, the ruling party demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) fix an earlier date for the next phase of LG elections.

The protesters, including women, warned the ECP that further delay would badly damage effectiveness of local government system in the province. “Everyone who believes in the law is well aware of the importance the constitution and Election Act attaches to the LG system,” said Senator Waqar Mehdi, general secretary of PPP Sindh chapter while addressing a demonstration is south district.

Rejects ECP schedule for oath-taking of councillors, election on reserved seats

“The delay in making the elected bodies functional and that too by none other than the ECP itself is contrary to the objectives of the constitution and the law and is causing despondency among people. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has publicly demanded immediate completion of the electoral process for LGs,” he said.

He reminded the ECP that the local government’s election in four divisions of Sindh were held almost a year ago while in Hyderabad and Karachi divisions the elections were delayed due to torrential rains.

“However, elections to reserved seats and elections for mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice chairmen have not yet been held, which have rendered the LG system in Sindh ineffective,” he said.

He recalled the PPP chairman’s recent address to a rally in which he demanded immediate completion of the electoral process for local governments.

“Simultaneously, PPP chairman has also instructed the party’s elected representatives to go beyond the call of their duty in serving people in social sectors like health and education and provide relief to the people effected by natural disasters. We demand the commission take up the matter most urgently so that the elected representatives can begin to perform their duties without further delay,” said Senator Mehdi.

In Larkana, PPP workers and elected representatives of local bodies took to the streets and urged ECP to revise the schedule for election on reserved seats and polls for mayor, chairmen district council and union councils,

The party activists along with elected LG representatives in Larkana district led by Aijaz Leghari, general secretary of PPP Larkana district; Khair Mohammad Shaikh, former mayor of Larkana; Anwer Luhar, general secretary of PPP Larkana city, took out a procession from the party’s main office in Kennedy Market.

The leaders said at the rally at Jinnahbagh gate elections in Larkana division were held on June 26, 2022, and according to the rules the elected representatives should have been in their seats within 90 days.

Unfortunately, they said, an entire year was about to pass but the ECP had still been dragging its feet on the schedule instead of completing the process at the earliest.

They demanded the ECP revise the schedule to an earlier date. The elected representatives, they said, should be installed in offices so that they could start serving their constituencies.

Meanwhile, Senator Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, who is also president of PPP Sindh chapter said in a statement the protests were held throughout the province on the party’s call to press the ECP to change its decision regarding the election schedule.

He termed it ‘delaying tactics’ and demanded the ECP should first complete the process of reserved seats election. The PPP stood against dilly-delaying tactics for delaying the mayoral election by a month. The party would have its mayors in Karachi and chairmen of district councils in the entire province, he said.

In Mirpurkhas, scores of workers and office-bearers of PPP held a demonstration at local press club in protest against delay in oath-taking ceremony of chairmen, vice chairmen and mayors of PPP.

The protesters led by Haji Mohammad Ali, Ch Ehsanul Haq, Shamim Jhandeer, Iqbal Panhwar and Heera Lal deplored that about a year had passed to the local government election, still the oath-taking ceremony of elected chairmen and vice chairmen had not been held yet. As a result, masses’ problems at grassroot level were increasing day by day, they said.

They urged higher authorities to take immediate notice of the issue and ensure the oath taking ceremony for elected LG representatives was held immediately.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2023

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