Tuesday, August 23, 2022

ECP postpones LG polls in several districts, to decide on Karachi tomorrow

Provincial govt had asked ECP to reconsider elections date in Hyderabad and Karachi divisions

The board outside the premises of the Election Commission of Pakistan. — ECP website/File
The board outside the premises of the Election Commission of Pakistan. — ECP website/File

  • Provincial govt asks ECP to reconsider date of elections in Hyderabad and Karachi divisions.
  • Letter states Sindh has had an estimated Rs450bn of damage as rains have wreaked havoc across province.
  • Province faces further devastation as PMD forecasts another spell starting Aug 23, says letter.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has called a meeting to review the local body elections in the Karachi division tomorrow (Wednesday).

The commission will take a final decision after reviewing the points raised by the Sindh government and the Pakistan Meteorological Department's (PMD) report regarding the weather.

Meanwhile, municipal elections have been postponed in Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Tando Allahyar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Matiari, Dadu, Thatta, Badin and Sajawal.

Earlier, ECP had rejected reports from deputy commissioners of 16 Sindh districts suggesting postponement of the local government elections, saying that the polls will not be delayed anymore.

The LG polls are scheduled to take place on August 28 (Sunday) across the province.

The commission while saying elections will go on as planned in the Karachi division, said that it would decide later about elections in the Hyderabad division, keeping in view the convenience of the voters.

Earlier today, the Sindh government wrote to the provincial Election Commission of Pakistan requesting the postponement of the polls in light of the monsoon rains forecast across the province in the coming week.

Sixteen deputy commissioners asked for the postponement for the next 45 days, however, Karachi's central DC recommended that the polls be conducted.

Sindh Election Commissioner Ejaz Anwar Chauhan said that rainwater was still accumulated in various districts in Karachi which has also affected the polling stations in those areas. The provincial election commissioners asked the DCs and regional election commissioners to submit reports regarding the rain station.

According to the officials of the provincial election commission, the body has constituted three election regions including Karachi which comprise seven districts named district west, Karachi East, Malir, Korangi, Keamari, Central, and South. The Hyderabad regions include six districts named Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Dadu, Matiari, Tando Allahyar, and Tando Muhammad Khan while the Badin region is inclusive of Badin, Sujawal, and Thatta.

'Redirecting resources for polls may exacerbate situation'

In the letter sent to the ECP, the provincial government Sindh has suffered losses of Rs450 billion as the rains have wreaked havoc across the province. "The damage is still ongoing as the Pakistan Meteorological Department has warned of another heavy spell of rainfall starting from 23 August, 2022." 

It further said that the administrative and law enforcement machinery has been engaged in the rescue and relief operations in the affected districts. 

"The security of the elections in Hyderabad and Karachi regions warrants the deployment of security personnel from other districts and regions which are already struggling to keep up law and order situation and provide relief to the affected," it added.

The letter said that re-directing resources for conducting the second phase of LG elections and ensuring accessibility to polling stations may further exacerbate the destruction caused by the calamity.