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JI got mayoral post twice with establishment’s support, says Ghani

By Our Correspondent
March 23, 2023

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in the past twice secured the mayoral post of Karachi with the help of the establishment, depriving the Pakistan Peoples Party of the coveted post. It seems that JI leader Hafiz Neemur Rehman is again waiting for a similar backing to become the city’s mayor.

Sindh Labour and Human Resources Minister Saeed Ghani said this on Wednesday while addressing a press conference. He maintained that the PPP had always been a sizable political force in Karachi, unlike the JI that had no such permanent following in the city. He said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had recently announced the schedule to conduct by-elections for filling the vacant local government seats in Karachi.

Ghani, who is also the Karachi PPP president, said such by-polls should have been held after the election for the mayor. “It is beyond my comprehension why the Election Commission waited for two months to hold these by-polls when the same were to be held before the mayoral elections,” he said.

The ECP had not set a good precedent in this regard as after the by-elections on these 11 seats, Ghani said as he explained that in this way, the mayoral election might be delayed again as more by-polls would be held in Karachi owing to the candidates who had won more than one seat. “It is beyond my understanding as to why the election for mayor is being delayed as given the current situation, it seems that this poll wouldn’t be held before May,” said Ghani.

The PPP leader said that as per the results declared by the ECP, the PPP had emerged as the single largest party in Karachi. As per the results declared so far, the PPP’s candidates had secured victories in 85 union committees in the city. He mentioned that as per the unofficial results, the PPP’s candidates had also won another 12 out of 20 UCs in Karachi whose cases had been pending with the ECP for a final decision.

He said there was no logic available as to why the ECP had delayed the by-polls in Karachi for two months as there was no such precedent in the past. He said the ECP was under an obligation to answer why such an inordinate delay had occurred in holding the by-polls in Karachi as the same should have been conducted in February this year.

Ghani questioned the claim of the JI that the people of Karachi stood with them as Jamaat’s following was nowhere seen beyond the limits of the city. He said the PPP had the first claim on the post of the Karachi mayor on the basis of the election results but even then, the PPP was ready to hold talks on this issue. He added that the PPP would have lent support to the JI had the latter won more seats in Karachi’s local government elections.

He predicted that PPP candidates would secure victories in at least eight of the 11 UCs in the city where by-polls would be held. To a question, the minister recalled that he had earlier stated that the PTI Chairman was an anti-state politician who had emerged as a security threat to Pakistan. He said the PTI chairman should be asked why the Jewish lobby had funded him.

He said the Indian and Jewish lobbies had tasked Imran Khan with ruining the economy and society of Pakistan. He mentioned that the activists of the PPP had never used petrol bombs despite facing unbearable atrocities.