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Wednesday February 08, 2023

‘Rigging’ in LG polls: PPP assures JI of redressal of grievances

Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman expresses severe concerns over alleged rigging in local body elections in Karachi

By Web Desk
January 19, 2023
Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem Ur Rahman (right) and Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani address a joint press conference on January 19, 2023. — Twitter/ @NaeemRehmanEngr
Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem Ur Rahman (right) and Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani address a joint press conference on January 19, 2023. — Twitter/ @NaeemRehmanEngr  

The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Sindh on Thursday assured the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) of redressal of its grievances relating to the results of the recently held local body  (LB) elections in Karachi.

The development came during a meeting between Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani and JI Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem Ur Rahman at Idara Noor-e-Haq in the metropolis.

The JI, who made a comeback in the January 15 LG polls in Karachi, accused the PPP of rigging during the polling as well as post-poll rigging.

Addressing a joint press conference following the meeting, Hafiz Naeem expressed severe concerns over the results of the LG elections.

“We faced problems while obtaining forms 11 and 12. Difficulties were also being faced while receiving results,” he added.

Referring to alleged post-poll rigging, the JI leader said that recounting of vote in controversial UCs was causing problems.

“Recounting of vote is underway in some UCs right now. We protested against changes in results. Mistakes are also being made in the re-counting process,” he said.

The JI leader hoped that Saeed Ghani and his team would look into the matters and resolve the issues.

‘Will take every possible step to address JI grievances’

On his part, Ghani said that the provincial government would take every possible step to address the grievances of the JI.

“From the beginning, we want the JI and the PPP to walk together,” he added.

Referring to a possible alliance between the two parties, the Sindh minister said that it would be beneficial for the people in the metropolis.

“We want the PPP and the JI to work together for the city” said Ghani.

Responding to allegations about rigging, the minister said that there were many things that “do not come directly under the government’s control”.

Both the parties will continue cooperation to resolve the issues, the minister added.

“The ECP is performing well but there may be some reservations,” said Ghani.

Despite the differences, we should try not to spoil the environment of the city, he added.

Earlier today, Ghani said that the PPP committed rigging in the polls the party should have secured a minimum of 125 seats from Karachi.

JI demands suspension of vote recount

Earlier in the day, the JI leader accused the PPP of post-poll rigging and urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to halt the process of vote recount in all controversial union councils in the metropolis.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, the JI leader claimed that the Sindh government influenced the electoral staff to tamper with the results of the local body elections in PPP's favour. He urged the PTI not to file recount applications, claiming that the PPP would use it to their advantage and steal Karachi's mandate.

"The ballot boxes from all objected UCs should be sent to the ECP office and recounted in the ECP officials' presence," Rehman added.

He said that the LG polls were postponed four times, and people were kept in confusion intentionally so that a large number of people do not vote.

Despite their reservations over the delimitations, he added, they strived to hold the LG polls in the city. However, there were delays during the polls, Form 11 and Form 12 were not provided timely after the counting ended, and the Returning Officers' results differed from the Form 11 and Form 12 results in many constituencies, he added.

He added that their workers were attacked and fired upon, but they would continue protecting the people's mandate. The JI leader accused the presiding officers of double-stamping JI's votes so that the ballot gets rejected.

"The PPP should respect JI's thumping mandate given by the people of Karachi," he said, adding that the next mayor of Karachi would be from the JI.

The JI Karachi chief also announced celebrating a “thanksgiving day” on MA Jinnah Road tomorrow (Friday) on their successful LG polls campaign.

ECP to hear JI plea on Jan 23

The ECP will hear the JI's plea against rigging and incorrect count in the second phase of the local government (LG) polls in Sindh on January 23, it said in a statement.

The JI had filed complaints regarding rigging and incorrect vote count in six union councils of Karachi and demanded action against the district returning officers (DRO) and returning officers (RO) involved.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), with 91 seats, emerged as the single largest party in the LG polls held in Karachi on January 15. JI, with 88 seats, remained the second biggest party, with PTI in the third position with 40 seats.

The PML-N secured seven, JUI-F three, and the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), independent candidates and others ended up with two UCs each.

Clashes over results

A day earlier, several people were injured as a result of clashes among political parties as the results of the LG polls poured in.

District Keamari, Malir Halt, Gulshan-e-Hadeed and Qayyumaba became the battleground as political workers gathered to witness the re-counting.

The PTI protested outside the office of the DRO in district Keamari's SITE area, where workers of the PPP were also present. Supporters of the two rival parties chanted slogans against each other.

Two journalists were injured after workers of the two political groups resorted to stone-pelting.

One person was injured due to stone pelting outside the DRO office in district Keamari, where police also resorted to baton-charge. Meanwhile, workers of the JI staged protests at Malir Halt and Gulshan-e-Hadeed.