Wednesday December 07, 2022

PPP denies requesting postponement of LG polls

July 22, 2022

The Pakistan Peoples Party on Thursday claimed that the Sindh government had never requested postponement of the second phase of the local government elections in Sindh and a by-election in Karachi, but after the Election Commission of the Pakistan’s decision to postpone the polls, propaganda had been started against the provincial government.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Saftey and Central Information Secretary PPP Parliamentarians Shazia Atta Marri, along with Secretary Information Faisal Karim Kundi, said that Karachi had received record monsoon rains recently, but the Sindh government still took effective measures timely to drain out rainwater and cleared the entire Karachi city.

While criticising PTI chief Imran Khan, she said that when Khan’s mind didn’t work, he started levelling baseless allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari. She said a political upheaval continues in Punjab in which the PPP has no involvement, but since former president Asif Ali Zardari is on a visit to Lahore, it has made the PTI leadership worried and confused.

Marri said that no candidate of the PPP was participating in the elections in Punjab and the children of Khan were not Pakistani, while he was calling us imported. She added that a person like Imran Niazi who does not have responsibility of his own children is giving us lectures.

She regretted that Khan is trying to divide the nation by using a false religious card and he wants to spread chaos in the country. She said such religious cards had also been used in the past.

She said the PTI did not field candidates in most of the constituencies during the local bodies elections in Sindh. “If a person joins the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, it is considered as a halal act, and if someone joins another political party then they [PTI] claims it as a haraam act.”

Marri said that whenever PTI won the elections, then it claimed everything was right, but the PTI often levelled baseless accusations of rigging in case of losing elections. She uttered that Khan termed traitors whoever talked about corruption scandals of Farah Gogi and Bushra Bibi while they were involved in corruption scandals of worth billions of rupees during the PTI regime.

She said Khan used to say that he was fully prepared and he had a team of experts, but the country’s economy collapsed during his rule. She said Khan’s income increased to 500 times after becoming prime minister of the country. “Shaikh Rasheed’s audio has been leaked in which he is asking about making a payment to Sharqpuri and now he is shamefully terming it a mere joke.”

Faisal Karim Kundi said some members of the PTI were claiming that PTI members were given Rs250 million to change their loyalties while other members claimed that Rs400 million were being given to them to leave the party. He surprisingly asked why only PTI members were sold to change their loyalties. He said the daughter of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, started a campaign for local bodies elections in Hyderabad; likewise, Imran Khan “should also send his daughter for the election campaign and we assure him that the Sindh government will provide full security to Imran Khan’s daughter”.

Kundi added that democracy would win on July 22 and Hamza Shahbaz Sharif would be the chief minister of Punjab. In his video message, Sindh Labour and Human Resources Minister Saeed Ghani said that neither the Sindh government nor the PPP sent any application to the ECP that phase two of the local government polls in Karachi, Hyderabad and Thatta should be postponed.

He released the message after several political parties in the province alleged that the ECP took the decision to postpone the polls at the behest of the Sindh government or the PPP. Ghani clarified that had the polling for the second phase of the LG elections been held as per the original schedule of July 24, it would have been in the interest of the PPP.

He further clarified that neither the chief minister and the chief secretary nor any other provincial agency had written to the ECP for deferring the polls, and that postponing the elections was purely the ECP’s own decision.

He said the opposition parties for their own political interests had started blaming the Sindh government and the PPP for the postponement of the municipal polls. He recalled that the PPP had originally opposed in court the MQM’s plea to defer the elections in Sindh due to the issue of controversial census results.

Ghani said all the members of the Select Committee of the Sindh Assembly representing different opposition parties, except the representative of the Jamaat-e-Islami, had decided with consensus to propose postponement of the polls till the finalisation of the process to amend the provincial local government law. He said the Sindh government had only put forth the consensus opinion of these political parties before the court.

Ghani said that later Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Karachi Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab, and he himself while speaking at various press conferences had clarified that the PPP had never suggested postponing the polls.

He said that later a letter of the ECP had emerged on social media containing the recommendation that the polls should be deferred, and it mentioned the election authorities talking on this issue with the Sindh chief Secretary, deputy commissioners of different districts, and field officers of the commission itself in the districts.

The labour minister said he had talked to the chief secretary on this issue, and the CS had informed him that he had held regular meetings with ECP officials for providing logistics and administrative support for the polls. He said the CS had categorically said he hadn’t requested the ECP to defer the polls. He said the ECP’s letter mentioned that its recommendation to postpone the polls had been based upon reports received from the Meteorological Department and its own field officers.

“Timely holding of the local government polls on July 24 was in the interest of the PPP. We didn’t want to run away from the polls as the PPP secured a landslide victory in all the districts in phase one of the local government elections in Sindh,” he added.

He said the PPP with an overwhelming majority had won the local government polls even in the urban areas of Sukkur, Nawabshah and Mirpurkhas. He said Hyderabad was one place where the local government polls were going to be held in the second phase as over 25 UC chairmen belonging to the PPP had won the polls unopposed.

He said the PPP was in a better position to win the polls even in Karachi as compared to the party’s position in 2015 when the last municipal elections were held. Ghani said the candidates and activists of the PPP had become dejected after the postponement of the elections.

He said the ECP had clearly mentioned the reasons behind the postponement of the polls, and the PPP shouldn’t be unduly blamed for this decision.

PPP not responsible: Wahab

Responding to the criticism stemming from the postponement of the local government (LG) elections, Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab on Thursday said the second phase of the polls in Sindh had been postponed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and not by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Wahab, who also serves as the Karachi administrator and adviser to the chief minister on law, stated this while addressing a press conference at the Sindh Assembly Committee Room on Thursday. "Many PPP candidates were elected unopposed. We are in favour of holding the LG elections immediately, and the PPP even made it clear to the ECP. Those who make baseless allegations will always cry,” the administrator said. He said everyone was informed through media on Wednesday evening that the LG polls in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions had been postponed. After the announcement, some people accused the Sindh government of postponing the elections, they should know that it was the ECP’s responsibility to conduct the polls. The elections should be conducted as per the schedule. They had also submitted before the ECP and the court that the work of delimitations had also been done according to the law, the spokesperson said.

He said that all the parties had representation in the select committee of the Sindh Assembly. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ali Zaidi had tweeted that the elections had been postponed because the PPP did not find candidates in Hyderabad. "Out of the 160 union committees of Hyderabad, 157 PPP candidates are contesting and three candidates got elected unopposed," he added.