Blame game ensues as Karachi results see delay

LG polls Karachi

Karachi: A blame game has ensued, and rigging claims are being made by political parties, as the results of the local bodies elections in Karachi witnessed delay despite the polling process ending at 5 pm on Sunday.

At the time of writing this piece, unofficial results of Karachi’s 51 union committees (UCs) have been released of the total 246.

So far, Pakistan People’s Party has won on 26 UCs, Jamat-e-Islami 12, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) 11, while Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) and Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (JUI-F) claimed victory in one UC each.

The situation arose hours after polling ended at 5 pm, with parties alleging that the results of the much-delayed second phase of local bodies elections in Sindh were deliberately being delayed in Karachi.

Parties in the province blamed the ruling PPP for rigging the votes and criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as a “helpless and silent spectator”.

The PPP, on the other hand, blamed its rivals, mainly the PTI, for deliberately sabotaging the peaceful process after sensing defeat in most parts of the province, including its stronghold Karachi.

PTI suffered a setback in Karachi when Khurram Sher Zaman — who was considered the party’s candidate for the top slot of the mayor — lost to PPP’s Najmi Alam in the Saddar area of Karachi.

JUI-F — an ally of the PPP — and JI alleged that the Sindh government had used delaying tactics by not ensuring that the polling officers reached the stations on time.

“Everything has been pre-decided and they have just staged the elections for a show,” JUI-F’s Karachi leader Qari Usman alleged while speaking to reporters in the metropolis.

Meanwhile, JI Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman Sunday directed the public to surround polling stations across the city as he also made claims of rigging.

Addressing a presser, Hafiz Naeem, JI’s mayoral candidate, said that it was the party’s constitutional, democratic, and legal right to be provided numbers of their election results.

However, the JI’s senior leader said that Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and the secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had issued clear orders to provide Forms 11 and 12, which were not being followed.

Responding to this, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said that JI politics revolves around protests and sit-ins — explaining the party’s recent protests against the provincial administration.

“When the results started trickling in, the losers began their bid to escape,” the Sindh government spokesperson told a local TV channel.

Similarly, the PTI also accused the PPP and the provincial administration of wrongdoing, warning that any attempt to “change the results” after voting would lead to a strong reaction.

“I am closely monitoring the results of each polling station, ward and UCs [union councils],” tweeted Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, the PTI president in Sindh.

He said that his party was “coming out as the leading party in Karachi.

“I am also being informed about games being played behind the scenes by the dirty forces of PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement]. Political engineers should respect public mandate.”

Hyderabad Division

Meanwhile, out of 160 UCs of nine towns of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC), PPP has won 27, PTI nine, JI one and one independent candidate has won according to unofficial and inconclusive results of the Municipal Elections 2022-23 in Hyderabad.

For the first time in history, the PPP is now in a position to win the post of mayor of the second-largest city of the province; it is already leading on 31 seats of chairmen and vice chairmen. With results of 58 seats pending, the PPP needs 23 more seats to have its mayor.