Sindh LG elections: ECP reserves verdict on MQM-P’s plea against voter lists

Karachi:The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday reserved its verdict on reservations raised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) over ambiguity in voter lists in Karachi and Hyderabad ahead of the second phase of local government elections. An ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CES) Sikandar Sultan Raja reserved the verdict after hearing arguments of MQM-P and other parties.

At the onset of the hearing, the MQM-P lawyer argued that use of old voter lists for LG polls in Karachi and Hyderabad was illegal. To which, the chief election commission said the political party had been moving courts in the past over the delimitation issue, adding: “Why do the MQM come up with all the issues at once”. He remarked MQM contested elections in 2018 with the same voter which are being used for the LG elections. The CEC also reprimanded the MQM lawyer for brushing aside while submitting the arguments. He also remarked that the LG elections, which are scheduled for Jan 15, would not be delayed in any way.

The Sindh government sought a week to submit arguments in the case as Additional Advocate General Sindh Fauzia Zafar appeared before the ECP unprepared. The CEC abolished the defense right of the provincial government after its lawyer showed up in the case without preparation. Jamat-e-Islami representative told ECP that attempts were being made to delay the elections. He asked the electoral body to ensure the LG polls were held on time.

ECP special secretary Zafar Iqbal opined that people became eligible for vote with every passing day, adding that it would be impossible to hold elections if MQM-P’s reservations on voter lists were accepted. The DG Law of the electoral body also asked ECP to reject the MQM-P’s petition.