KARACHI: Despite casting doubts over fairness of the upcoming general elections in urban Sindh, raising questions over fresh delimitations and accusing the provincial election commissioner of supporting the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan on Friday ruled out any possibility of boycotting the February 8 polls and vowed to contest the challenge with full force.

Addressing a press conference in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, where the party is set to hold a public rally on Saturday, former Karachi mayor and senior MQM-P leader Mustafa Kamal expressed the fresh concerns of the party after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) published the final delimitation list of constituencies for national and provincial assemblies.

Accusing Sindh Election Commissioner Ejaz Anwar Chohan of “betraying the people of Karachi” and “gerrymandering and manipulating” the mandate of the business capital, the MQM-P leader said: “We had filed objections over several [formation of] constituencies, but we were sure about 13 of them that they would be reviewed and we would be heard over them.”

The MQM-P leader alleged that Ejaz Chohan was not a government servant, but a PPP worker who was serving the political purposes of the party in the constitutional body.

“We aren’t very much hopeful about the impartiality of the elections, but let it be very clear to everyone. We won’t boycott polls and we would contest them with full force.”

Accuses provincial election commission of corruption

Addressing on the occasion, senior convener of the party Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi went a step ahead and accused the ECP officials of wrongdoing against financial benefits.

He claimed that the constitutional body was dividing voters in Sindh on ethnic lines and serving the purpose of those elements, which “relied upon hatred for their vested political interests”.

“Now there are reports that money talks at the Election Commission too,” he alleged.

“If this is true that money changes hands at the ECP then nothing more worst we could imagine. The ECP is supposed to ensure free and fair elections without any biases, but here in Sindh we see the body is actively involved in dividing mandate and people’s votes solely on ethnic lines. We demand the chief election commissioner to take notice of such complaints.”

He said the fresh delimitations announced by the ECP had once again contained the original mandate and representation of urban Sindh in the parliament and referred to “serious flaws” in electoral rolls of urban Sindh.

The MQM-P leader also claimed to have handed over ‘evidence’ to officials concerned regarding “flaws and anomalies” in Karachi voter lists that had shifted hundreds of thousands of the city votes from their original constituencies to other areas.

“Where we should we go with these complaints?” said Mr Siddiqi. “Who would resolve these years-old problems and fix these organised manipulations? We are concerned and worried but we don’t give in to such tactics. We would resist and take every path allowed by the democracy, constitution and law of the land to challenge and expose these crimes.”

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023

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