Monday April 22, 2024

By-polls for vacant Karachi UC seats to be held on April 18, ECP tells SHC

By Our Correspondent
March 21, 2023

By-elections for Karachi’s vacant union committee seats for the offices of chairman and vice chairman will be held on April 18, the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) law officer told the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday.

Filing comments on the Jamaat-e-Islami’s petition against the delay in holding polls for 11 UCs, the ECP law officer said the by-polls for the vacant seats in various districts of the province will be held on April 18.

He also submitted the relevant notification, according to which the consolidation of the local government election results would be announced on April 20. After taking the ECP’s statement on record, the court disposed of the petition.

JI city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman’s petition said that despite a lapse of 50 days, the provincial government had not held polls for the offices of chairman and vice chairman in the UCs where LG elections had been postponed due to the candidates’ deaths.

Rehman’s counsel Usman Farooq said the JI leader had also approached the election commissioner to request that the LG polls schedule be announced, but no such announcement had been made.

He said the situation was making the city’s residents believe that the ECP was extending a favour to the province’s ruling party. He explained that there was every likelihood that the JI’s candidates were set to win in the 11 UCs, which was evident from the results of the polls for the general seats there.

He said the voters of the UCs concerned were being deprived of their right to elect their representatives as chairmen and vice chairmen, while in the case of the elections for the mayor and the town chairmen, the representatives of these UCs would also be deprived of their right to vote.

He also said that these 11 members’ absence from the city council as well as the town councils, the results might be changed in favour or against any party. He stressed that not holding polls in these UCs without any reason was illegal and in violation of the constitution because the ECP was bound to hold elections within the stipulated time frame.

He requested the court to direct the ECP to immediately announce the schedule for LG polls for chairmen and vice chairmen in the 11 remaining UCs as well as for general members or ward councillors in nine UCs.