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November 5, 2017

MQM-P to move ECP to de-seat Deputy Mayor Vohra


November 5, 2017

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has decided to move the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to de-seat Karachi Deputy Mayor Arshad Vohra after he crossed the City Council’s floor to sit on the opposition benches, party spokesperson Aminul Haq told The News on Saturday.

Vohra defected to the Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party on October 29, saying that he could not face the public anymore because the MQM-P had failed to deliver to the people of the city even though it could do so within the available “limited resources”.

“The MQM-P has decided to write a letter to the ECP seeking the de-seating of Vohra since he violated not only the party’s code of conduct and policy but also the law,” Haque said. He, however, did not specify when the letter would be dispatched. 

The party, led by Farooq Sattar, is facing another challenge at the City Council of the Karachi Municipal Corporation since Vohra jumped ship to the PSP. While at one hand, the MQM-P is trying to keep its strength at the City Council intact, on the other, the PSP is waging efforts to pull more local bodies representatives on its side.

A glimpse of this power struggle was witnessed in the last City Council session when banners were put up against Mayor Waseem Akhtar, who belongs to the MQM-P, on the building’s premises and slogans were chanted inside the hall against him. To exhibit its hold, the MQM-P leaders also chanted counter slogans in Akhtar’s favour.

“The presence of more than 80 members out of the 204 with the MQM-P depicted that the party is in a powerful position [in the council],” Haque said on Saturday, refuting PSP leaders’ claims that it could bring about an in-house change at the council because a considerable number of local government representatives were in contact with them.

The MQM-P spokesperson said Vohra stood disqualified under Section 36(k) of the Sindh Local Government Act 2013, which states a person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as and from being a member of the council if he is certified by his political party to have defected from the party.

However, a former provincial election commissioner told The News that the authorities were yet to notify the rules of removing or de-seating a City Council member.

“They are in the process and may take longer to be notified,” he said.

According to the former election officer, the other option the MQM-P could go for to remove Vohra is to approach the ECP against the defected member with evidence that the person violated the party’s policy.

“The matter will be subjected to a hearing and, after listening to both the sides, the ECP will give its decision.”

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