Friday Jan 13, 2023
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Friday reiterated that the local body (LB) elections in Karachi and Hyderabad could not be held until new delimitation, but at the same time, it did not rule out its participation.
"If despite our concerns, the elections do take place, then we will not boycott them. However, we will not accept the results of the elections," MQM-P spokesperson Ahsan Ghauri told Geo.tv.
The MQM-P’s announcement came hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to hold local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad as per schedule on January 15, rejecting the Sindh government's request to postpone the elections.
The old guard of the MQM — Mustafa Kamal and Farooq Sattar — have merged their factions under Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui's leadership, with Sattar saying that it was a "rebranded MQM-P".
Addressing a press conference today alongside MQM-P leaders, Barrister Farogh Naseem accused the Sindh government of unfairness while determining the constituencies for the local government polls.
“Under Sindh Local Government Act Section 10 Subsection 1, the provincial government had determined the constituencies for the LG polls, but the constituencies had a disproportional population,” he added.
The constituencies where the MQM-P has vote banks consist of 90,000 people and the others have just 20,000 population, he claimed, adding that it was "injustice" with the populace.
Through the delimitations, the MQM-P vote bank has been downsized by three times, Naseem said and termed it “pre-poll rigging”.
Raising questions over the size of the population in different constituencies, the MQM-P leader further said that as per the principle, the variation of the population in the constituencies could not be more than "+-10%".
The ECP decided to hold LG polls in Karachi and Hyderabad by using the “provision of Section 9” of the constitution, he said and argued that the section is not applicable in the case as the provincial government had issued the orders under Section 10 (1).
“Section 9 is not applicable for an order issued under Section 10(1),” he added.
"The ECP has no jurisdiction in Section 10 (1)," the former law minister added. Terming the election authority’s order “void”, Naseem said the LB polls would not have legal status.
Speaking at the occasion, MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari said he doubted the transparency of elections following the discrepancies within constituencies.
“It is visible in the constituencies that the population of Nazimabad, Korangi, and Orangi Town is more compared to the seats. In some areas, the population is less and the seats are more. How will the elections be transparent?” Sabzwari asked, expressing reservations.
In an apparent reference to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), he also questioned people placing banners across the city about their absence when 'injustice was being meted out" to Karachi and Hyderabad.
“There was no census in the city for the last 20 years. When joining the [Pakistan Democratic Movement] PDM’s government, the first point raised was regarding the census,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sattar said the ECP set aside the decision of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and the cabinet. “Has the Election Commission become more reliable than the Supreme Court?” he said, raising questions on the authority the commission possesses.
The senior member of the newly-rebranded party said that today’s press conference is neither an insult to the court nor the election commissioner.
“When the Sindh government is admitting a mistake in the delimitation of constituencies, then isn’t the election commission’s action contempt of court,” he added.