PPP leads by wide margin in Sindh LG by-polls

JI chief Sirajul Haq writes to CJP, demands suo motu on Karachi local government elections

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was leading on a number of seats during local government by-polls in 15 districts of Sindh, according to unofficial results.

In Nawab Shah’s UC-8, PPP’s Qazi Rasheed Bhatti was ahead of MQM-P’s Yaqoob Arain, who’s at the second spot, and the candidates of the PTI and the TLP.

Larkana’s Dokri Town committee Ward-2 also witnessed PPP’s Basheer Thaheem taking a lead over GDA’s Habibullah Khokhar and PTI’s Imam ud din Jalbani.

The PPP’s candidate for district councillor of UC-28 of Kandhkot, Mir Ahmad Raza, stood victorious over JUI’s Raees Zafar Bheo, while PPP’s Kashif Ali Bheo managed to win the chairman slot, and PPP’s Muhammad Salah won general councillor seat.

A total of 109,687 registered voters were expected to cast votes, with 59,310 male and 50,377 female in 15 districts.

The polling took place in Jacobabad, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Larkana, Qamber Shahdadkot, Sukkur, Khairpur, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Umarkot, Tharparkar, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, and Badin from 8am to 5pm.

The local government polls were conducted with the help from 15 district returning officers, 26 returning officers, and 52 assistant returning officers.

A total of 81 polling stations were set up across the districts, including separate stations for men and women as well as combined stations.

The electoral watchdog had taken necessary steps to ensure fair and transparent elections by conducting the re-vote in response to allegations of misconduct during the previous local government elections held in 15 districts of Sindh.

Meanwhile, Jamat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq has urged Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to take suo motu over the role of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Karachi local government (LG) elections.

The JI chief expressed his views in a letter penned down to the CJP following the LG elections in Sindh, including Karachi.

In the letter, Sirajul Haq alleged that most of the ECP staff members were supporters of the ruling party – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). “The electoral staff was appointed on the basis of political affiliation,” he noted. “The ruling party cast bogus votes in 35 to 40 union councils (UCs) of Karachi,” the JI chief said, adding that even before the election, the party had stated that the city’s mayor would be a “jiyala”.

He added that the constituencies were delimitated on the basis of “bogus electoral lists”. “The cases were sent to the same ROs, who were accused of rigging”, he added.

He pointed out that the “worst rigging occurred in six union councils (UCs), accusing the ROs of announcing results against Form 11. “Results were changed in 66 polling stations,” he said, but the ECP ordered a recount in only 17 stations.

He urged the apex court to take immediate notice of the matter using its constitutional powers. “A clear decision should be given on the deliberate violation of the constitution and law by the Election Commission”, he added.