• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

MQM-P demands fresh LG polls in Sindh


Jan 20, 2023 , , , ,

Leader of MQM-Pakistan Wasim Akhtar talking with the media persons outside the Election Commission of Pakistan in the Federal Capital. — Online/File
 Leader of MQM-Pakistan Wasim Akhtar talking with the media persons outside the Election Commission of Pakistan in the Federal Capital. — Online/File 
  • MQM-P demands to render LG polls null and void.
  • Wasim Akhtar says elections should be announced again.
  • Everyone including FAFEN said polls were rigged, says Akhtar.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Friday demanded of the government to cancel the local government (LG) polls, held on January 15, and conduct new free, fair, and transparent voting. 

Speaking at a press conference in Karachi, deputy convener MQM-P Wasim Akhtar told the journalists that it had been four days since the elections were conducted yet the results had not been released. 

“Why are the results being delayed when there’s no bad weather or greater turnout?” Akhtar asked. He said that everyone, including the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), regarded these elections as rigged.

According to a FAFEN report on Sindh LG polls, controversies over the quality of electoral processes do not augur well for the country, particularly at a time when the political parties are preparing for general elections that are constitutionally due by October 11, 2023. 

These controversies stem from weaknesses in the legislative framework that governs elections and need to be rectified through wide-ranging negotiations, the report added.

MQM-P’s leader demanded that Karachi, “which provides for the country and is a major source of Sindh’s annual budget, must be taken care of”.

While criticising the Sindh government over the loose conduct of the elections, he said: “If LG polls were rigged on such a large scale, then what would happen in the general elections?”

He also criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not considering repeated appeals made by MQM-P by saying “the ECP has  failed to deceive us this time.”

He further said that elections had been postponed “three times” in both cities and yet the “delimitation of the constituencies was not corrected.”

Akhtar further claimed that “the rigging is also taking place after the polls by making attempts to increase the voter turnout.”

MQM-P’s leader further highlighted that the turnout was low “only because MQM-P boycotted the polls.”

He said that compared to the 2015 LG polls the turnout was very low this time around. 

The MQM-P leader noted that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamat-e-Islami (JI) were confused about what to do.

It may also be noted that MQM-P boycotted the second phase of the local body elections held in 16 districts of Sindh’s two divisions — Karachi and Hyderabad — on Sunday. 

Also, MQM-P cheered the low turnout saying that “Karachi won and rigging lost.”

MQM-P’s reservations on LG polls

MQM-P deputy convener Wasim Akhtar said his party would approach the court against the alleged pre-poll rigging in the local government elections held on Sunday.

“The [ECP] has completely failed to conduct transparent elections. Everyone has seen the biased attitude of the ECP, which rejected our valid requests,” he said on Tuesday.

Akhtar said Pakistan as well as the whole world had seen the true face of the PPP. The PPP has also taken control of the local bodies’ meagre budget, he pointed out.

He said the MQM-P had been voicing their concerns for a long time at various forums regarding the inaccuracies in the delimitations of the constituencies — which impacted the MQM-P vote bank in the two divisions. 

However, he added, the ECP and the Sindh government had disregarded justice and the law.

He questioned the transparency of the upcoming general elections, referring to the video clips being aired on TV channels and circulated on social media that show ballot boxes and papers being mishandled in public.

He also criticised the low voter turnout and accused the PPP of rigging the polls and creating 75 UCs with incorrect population ratios. 

He appealed to the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take action gainst the violations of law of the land and the constitution.

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