Thursday February 29, 2024

JI warns of indefinite sit-in if LG poll results not rectified

By Our Correspondent
March 03, 2023

Karachi Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has issued a seven-day ultimatum for rectification of flawed results of the recent local government elections and announcement of polls in the remaining 11 union committees (UC) of Karachi.

He warned of a prolonged sit-in protest in the city in case the authorities did not meet the JI’s demand. Addressing a press conference at the Idara Noor-e-Haq on Thursday, Rehman said the JI should not be mistaken for those who sold out their mandate against posts and perks of administrators. “We will safeguard our votes and have our mandate restored,” he remarked.

He said that in case the results of local government polls were not rectified and schedule for by-polls not announced, a sit-in would be held in Karachi on Friday, March 10, that would continue till all the issues were not properly addressed. The JI leader directed the party workers on the occasion to mobilise people of Karachi for the mass protest.

He alleged that the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) government in Sindh did not want transparent results of the local government elections and its ill-intentions had become evident in the recounting of votes that was recently held in the Safoora Town UC-6.

He maintained that bags of ballot papers were found torn but the returning officer (RO) and district returning officer (DRO) did not take notice of that even though their attention was drawn to the fact. Similarly, he added, all the 50 votes cast in favour of the JI at the polling stations were shown as rejected in the recounting contrary to the results shown in the forms 11 and 12.

He asserted that only those votes were shown rejected in the recounting that had been cast in favour of the JI. He alleged that the RO and the DRO did not take applications against the flaws, and they also refused to show the record of the remaining ballot papers. According to Rehman, a sibling of a PPP candidate in the UC was appointed as the presiding officer in the same UC. The ECP was responsible to appoint unbiased staffers after thorough examination, he said, adding that the PPP government in Sindh was pressurising the government employees into manipulating the electoral process.

The JI would keep chasing the PPP until the results were rectified, he declared as he accused the PPP of employing various tactics to deprive the JI of its rightful mandate. He maintained that several presiding officers who were in touch with the JI had revealed that they were under pressure and facing threat of transfer and termination by the Sindh government and some high-ups who wanted them to do post-poll rigging.

The ROs and DROs appointed by the PPP government in Sindh were not trustworthy, he said as he demanded that the ECP appoint its own officials for any recounting as the JI had reports that the PPP had planned to repeat its rigging tactics during recounting.

He explained that during the last hearing before the ECP, some of the presiding officers had expressed doubts about their own signatures on the forms 11 and 12, whereas the sealed copies with the government could not be produced before the commission.

Similarly, he maintained, another presiding officer did not testify his own signature even without taking a look over it on the forms 11 and 12 produced by the JI.

In another instance, Rehman said, a presiding officer was taken up by a police contingent and was forced to change the forms 11 and 12. He asked whether this was the democracy on the basis of which the PPP had been ruling over the province. “Is this the vision of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari?” he asked.