Monday Nov 14, 2022
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on October 18 had postponed the LG elections in Sindh and Hyderabad for a third time at the request of the provincial government. On November 11, the Sindh cabinet approved a proposal seeking another postponement of the much-delayed local body elections in Karachi and Hyderabad for the fourth time.
Irked by the prolonged delay in the local government elections, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) moved the SHC seeking its orders for the elections.
At the last hearing on November 10, the court directed the IG Sindh and DG Rangers to present separate reports about the total number of personnel and their place of deployment.
A two-judge bench of the SHC headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh heard the case. JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, MQM’s Waseem Akhtar and Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan, IG Sindh, provincial election commissioner and Sindh chief secretary were present in the courtroom.
At the outset of today’s hearing, Sindh IG presented the report about the total number of police personnel and their place of duty. The court was told that the Sindh Rangers have also submitted their report to the court.
The advocate general Sindh told the court that the police and rangers are unable to provide security if local body elections are held immediately. Responding to queries, he maintained that conducting elections is the responsibility of the ECP but not of the provincial government.
“We have communicated the ground realities. The ECP should take a decision after reviewing all the parties and the ground realities. The ECP has the constitutional powers to decide on it,” he added.
At this, SHC CJ Shaikh asked the provincial election commissioner when will the election be held.
“We are ready to conduct elections,” replied the Sindh election commissioner.
“Hold elections in phases if it is not possible simultaneously [in the mega cities],” remarked the judge. The SHC CJ warned the Sindh election commissioner that they were committing contempt of court by violating SC orders.
The election commissioner apprised the court that they can conduct elections in Karachi in the next 15 days and sought security from the police and interior minister to maintain peace during the polling process.
After hearing arguments from all the parties, the SHC reserved its verdict.