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Thursday October 06, 2022

SHC seeks comments on JI’s plea for early LG polls

By Our Correspondent
August 11, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the federal and provincial law officers and others on a petition filed by the Jamaat-e-Islami seeking orders for the ECP to announce an early date for the local government elections in Karachi, and print fresh ballot papers to avoid rigging and malpractice.

JI city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said in his petition that the ECP had postponed the second phase of the LG polls from July 24 to August 28 on the grounds of heavy monsoon rains and Muharram, but had failed to announce an earlier date soon after Ashura.

Rehman claimed that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), the district municipal corporations and the police have been placed, on the instructions of Sindh’s chief secretary, at the disposal of the election candidates of the province’s ruling party to carry out development works and normal municipal services while they hoist the party’s flags.

The JI leader said the ECP had also issued a notification to hold a by-election for the National Assembly’s NA-245 constituency on August 21, but it had been disturbing the campaign of the LG poll candidates because parallel campaigns had been confusing the voters.

He said that the ECP postponing the LG elections to August 28 was a mala fide action, and requested the court to direct the electoral body to immediately announce an earlier date for holding the polls.

He also requested the court to direct the ECP to print fresh ballot papers with different colours so as to avoid malpractice and rigging as apprehended by the petitioner. Rehman requested the court to direct the provincial government to amend the LG law in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court prior to holding the local bodies election.

He also requested the court to direct the provincial government to not use government machinery or staff for the election campaign of the ruling party’s candidates in violation of the ECP’s code of conduct.

He also sought directions for holding free and fair elections, and removing the political administrator of the KMC, namely Barrister Murtaza Wahab, and replacing him with an impartial government official.

After the preliminary hearing of the petition, an SHC division bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh issued notices to the ECP and other respondents, calling for their comments to be filed on the next date of hearing.

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