pakistan
Friday Nov 18 2022
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SHC directs ECP to announce schedule for Karachi, Hyderabad's local body polls

An outside view of the Sindh High Courts building. — Facebook/File
An outside view of the Sindh High Court's building. — Facebook/File

  • SHC announces reserved verdict on JI, PTI petitions.
  • Court directs Sindh to provide security for polls.
  • Local body polls have been delayed multiple times.


KARACHI: The Sindh High Court Friday morning directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce a new schedule for the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad.

Announcing the decision — which the SHC reserved on November 14 — on the petitions of JI and PTI against the delay in the local body polls, the high court also told the Sindh government to provide security for the elections.

The local government elections have been delayed multiple times since July after the Sindh government repeatedly refrained from providing security for the elections due to floods.

The elections were initially scheduled for July 24, but they were delayed due to "bad weather and rains". Then, polling was set to take place on August 28 and October 24, but the provincial government refused to provide security.

In its latest move to delay the polling further, the provincial cabinet had earlier this month approved delaying local government elections in Karachi Division for another 90 days under Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.

The ECP had also three days back reserved its ruling on the case of repeated postponement of local bodies elections in Karachi, while it is unclear when will the decision be announced. 

"We would not go so far as to dictate the date of the election or direct the manner in which the same ought to be conducted or policed, but would note that the ECP may notify the polling date, preferably within a period of 15 days from the date of this order," the order mentioned.

The court demanded the ECP to specify a fresh polling date and preferably conclude the overall exercise of the "election in any event within a total period of 60 days".

'Victory for the people of Karachi'

JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman said that the election commission should conduct the local elections as soon as possible and not delay them any further.

"This is not just a victory for JI, but a victory for the people of Karachi because through the elections they will get a leadership that can solve their problems," the JI chief said as he hoped that his party could help Karachiites.

Rehman then criticised the Sindh government for the delay in the elections and said that the PPP does not want to hold local elections. "They have police to send to Islamabad, but they cannot provide law enforcement officials for the elections."

"It is time for them to accept their defeat and brace themselves for the elections," he added.

In conversation with journalists outside the high court after the ruling, PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman said that his party filed a petition against the delay two months ago.

Zaman said that the Sindh government have made a "drama" out of the local body polls. "The Sindh government and its allies know if the elections take place, it will be the final nail in their coffin," he added.

The PTI leader claimed that the court has ordered to hold elections within four weeks time.