Opposition political parties on Friday continued their protest against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for postponing the second phase of local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad, and accused the commission of taking the decision of postponing the polls at the behest of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).
On Wednesday, the ECP had postponed the second phase of the LG elections in Sindh, which were scheduled to be held on Sunday, and announced that the polls would now be held on August 28.
An ECP press release said a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja in the chair decided to postpone the second phase of the LG polls on the request of Sindh’s chief secretary because of the expected new spell of monsoon showers.
JI stages demo
The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi staged a protest demonstration outside the ECP Sindh office over the delay in the local government polls and announced a movement against the “most controversial” decision by the commission.
A large number of JI workers and social and political activists, besides concerned citizens, participated in the protest. The protesters carrying placards and banners chanted slogans against the Sindh government and the ECP. Addressing the protesters, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman announced that the party would organise 1,000 corner meetings against the decision. He said representatives from all walks of life would be taken on board to drum up support and inclusion of the entire society in the campaign. He also announced that the JI would approach the judiciary as well to get the controversial decision null and void.
Rehman said the JI had become a hope for not only 30 million Karachi residents but the entire country. He said that the ruling class in Sindh had been enjoying all perks, privileges and immunities, whereas the people in Sindh, particularly Karachi, were bearing the brunt of the worst decisions taken by corrupt politicians.
He alleged that the ECP played “a nefarious role” to support the failed political parties by delaying the local government elections. He added that the JI had been pursuing the polls, whereas other political parties were using all available forums to get them delayed.
He said the ECP used the pretext of rains to fulfil the agenda of failed political parties in search of an escape plan. The chief election commissioner needed to realise that the ECP was not a governmental organisation, but an organ of the state.
On the occasion, he invited the ECP to a meaningful dialogue to find a way forward in connection with holding free and impartial polls as soon as possible.