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Tuesday December 06, 2022

Cops’ unavailability: Sindh again asks ECP to put off LG polls in Karachi

The Sindh government has once again requested the provincial election commission postpone local government polls in Karachi

October 04, 2022
Sindh again asks ECP to put off LG polls in Karachi
Sindh again asks ECP to put off LG polls in Karachi

KARACHI: The Sindh government has once again requested the provincial election commission postpone local government polls in Karachi, citing this time the unavailability of police force in adequate numbers to maintain law and order on the polling day, it emerged on Monday.

The Provincial Election Commissioner Sindh, however, said the commission will not tolerate any negligence in conducting free and transparent elections and the administration is responsible for maintaining a law and order situation during polls.

Referring to a letter sent earlier by the Sindh Police to the Home Department, the provincial government informed the provincial election commission that Karachi police were deployed in the calamity-hit parts of the province taking part in the flood relief drive and performing security duties, therefore the LG elections should be postponed for at least three months.

The Additional Inspector General Police Operations Haider Raza in a letter to the Home Department said that Karachi Police was deployed in the flood-hit district of Sindh due to which required security can’t be provided and therefore the Local Government elections in the Karachi Division should be put off for at least three months. AIG Raza said the second phase of LG, Karachi Range envisages deployment of 39,293 police personnel out of which 14,958 police personnel have to be provided from districts of interior Sindh, while a reserve of 7,150 was planned to be mined from auxiliaries to meet the shortfall as per the scales given by the election commission. Presently we can only muster a few thousand police personnel from all available resources. It would be only possible if all Karachi police force deployed to support flood relief operations in interior Sindh is called back to Karachi.

There will still be a shortfall of 16,786 police personnel for the required security deployment planned for the second phase of LG elections. Moreover, Karachi Police will not be able to avail the full human resources from security and traffic units. The letter goes on to mention; “The Karachi Range had earlier planned to raise 7,150 auxiliaries from lady health visitors, recruits awaiting training, out of which 1,800 have joined the training, private security guards and other Sindh government departments. But in the wake of the floods, the availability of all auxiliaries is improbable thus further exacerbating the shortfall to 16,786”. Moreover, due to the flood situation, it has become impossible for Sindh Police to pool the manpower required for the LG elections.

However, the Provincial Election Commissioner Sindh Ejaz Anwar Chauhan while chairing a high-level meeting said that the administration is responsible for maintaining a law and order situation during the polls. The meeting reviewed preparations regarding the upcoming by-polls to be held on October 16 in two constituencies of the National Assembly— NA-237 Malir and NA-239 Korangi. The officials also discussed the forthcoming Local Government elections to be conducted in seven districts of Karachi on October 23. The meeting was attended by the Joint Provincial Election Commoners Javed Rehmat Khan and Ali Asghar Sial, the DIGs of Karachi, District Commissioners of Karachi, Returning Officers, District Monitoring Officers, and District Election Commissioners.

Speaking on the occasion, Provincial Election Commissioner Sindh Ejaz Anwar Chauhan said that the commission will not tolerate any negligence in conducting free and transparent elections and administration is responsible for maintaining a law and order situation during polls.

Earlier, the commission had scheduled the second phase of the LG elections in Karachi and Hyderabad on July 24. But owing to torrential rains and expected floods, the polls were rescheduled for August 28. However, the elections were again postponed as a majority of the polling stations were inaccessible. Later on, the commission again announced that the second phase of the LG election would be conducted on October 23 in the Karachi division, while a new date will be announced soon for the conduct of the LG election in the Hyderabad division.

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