Islamabad: Citing “threats” to various political leaders and party workers as warned by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the Sindh government has again sought a delay in the local bodies elections in Karachi and Hyderabad.
On Saturday, the local government department wrote a fresh letter to the provincial election commissioner in which it apprised the electoral body that a meeting was held at the chief secretary’s office on Friday wherein “the law enforcement and intelligence agencies apprised the participants of the precarious law and order situation along with specific threats to various political leaders and workers of political parties”.
It also said that the Sindh cabinet had also expressed its concern with the non-availability of the Pakistan Army and civil armed forces for static deployment at polling stations.
The letter said that the meeting “corroborated the fear and apprehension of the government in view of the prevalent situation, there is a greater need for the presence of troops of Pakistan Army and civil armed forces to be statically deployed at the polling stations”.
The provincial government told the ECP that it had already written to the Ministry of Interior about the provision of required security.
“In light of the above, the Government of Sindh reiterates the request that the second phase of local government elections to the extent of Karachi division & Hyderabad district be postponed till such time that the required security is available at the polling stations,” the letter to the ECP reads.
The development came after the ECP rejected the Sindh government’s request to postpone local bodies elections in Karachi, Hyderabad, and Dadu and said that the elections would take place per schedule on January 15.
Last year, the ECP announced that the second phase of the local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad would be held on July 24, 2022. However, the devastating floods of 2022 compelled the ECP to postpone the elections.
The electoral body rescheduled the LG elections for August 28, but they were put off again due to the same reason. The commission had said that most of the polling stations had been rendered inaccessible for the voters.
On October 18, 2022, the ECP rescheduled the elections for October 23, but the provincial government sought their postponement for three months because it had deployed police in the flooded areas, due to which it was unable to provide the required level of security to the polling stations.
After repeated delays, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) moved the Sindh High Court, which on November 15, 2022, instructed the ECP to announce the date for the LG elections within 15 days.