The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday said the local government (LG) elections in Karachi and Hyderabad would be held on January 15 (tomorrow) as per schedule.

The commission has rejected the demand of the Sindh government to postpone it over security threats to political leaders.

It has also directed the Sindh government to ensure “foolproof preparations for peaceful elections”.


‘Threats to politicians’: Sindh govt once again asks ECP to delay LG elections

Earlier in the day, the government asked ECP to delay the polls in Karachi and Hyderabad, citing “threats to various political leaders and workers of political parties” after warnings by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government sent a letter to the commission with polls set to take place in less than 24 hours. The letter mentions the threat and it is added 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 provincial government is repeatedly requesting ECP to delay the polls to calm down Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), which has warned that it will quit the coalition government if its grievances are not addressed before polls.

ECP clears confusion; LG elections in Karachi, Hyderabad to be held on Jan 15

On Friday, ECP said that the local government elections in Karachi, Hyderabad, and other districts would be held as scheduled on January 15.

The ECP rejected the notification issued by the Sindh government last night.

The decision was taken during a meeting of ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and attended by all four members.

Local government elections — scheduled for January 15 — will not be held in Karachi, Hyderabad, and Dadu, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon announced early Friday.

The decision came after an emergency meeting of the PPP presided by party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and attended by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers and the district presidents of the party’s Karachi chapter, among others.

In a press conference, Memon said that the decision was taken after the Sindh government withdrew a notification regarding the delimitations of the constituencies in Karachi after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) expressed reservations about it.

“They (MQM-P) are our allies in the federal government and we take the concerns of our allies very seriously,” the minister said.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vowed to “resist” the decision as they termed the delaying of the local body polls “unacceptable”.

JI Karachi president Hafiz Naeem-Ur-Rehman termed the decision an “ambush” on Karachi and Hyderabad by PPP and MQM-P.

“There will be a sit-in today at 3pm outside the Election Commission’s Sindh office,” JI Karachi President Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman had announced in a press conference, early Friday morning.

PTI Sindh President Ali Zaidi said that the provincial government took the step as they were afraid of defeat.

PTI leader Ali Zaidi, in a separate media talk on Friday morning also announced that the party will be holding a protest rally outside the Sindh Assembly at 4pm today.