Sindh govt says can’t provide security

Argues large number of security personnel engaged in flood relief operations

The Sindh government on Thursday refused to provide security personnel for the October 23 local body polls in Karachi.

On October 4, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) turned down the Sindh government’s plea to defer the LB Polls in the port city for three months. Despite the refusal, the provincial government again wrote a letter to ECP seeking a delay in polls for the next three months in the port city. The provincial government, however, excused itself from providing security, saying that a large number of the security personnel were engaged in the flood relief operation in number of the districts of the province.

“We are unable to provide the required security resources for the October 23 elections as a large number of police officials are busy helping the flood victims,” said the Sindh government The provincial government, however, agreed to provide security if the local body polls were to be held in two phases in the metropolis. “If the situation returns to normal in three months, security resources will be available for the local body election,” the provincial government added.

On Wednesday Sindh Labour and Human Resources Minister Saeed Ghani suggested that the local government elections be held in Karachi in two phases, given the limited resources available at the disposal of the provincial government to ensure holding the polls in a smooth and peaceful manner. Addressing a news conference at the provincial assembly, Ghani maintained that the final decision in this regard rests with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).However, Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman opposed the suggestion to hold phase-wise local government elections in the city, and demanded that the ECP ensure free and fair elections across the metropolis on October 23.

The JI leader demanded that the ECP deploy the Pakistan Army and Rangers to ensure transparency and smooth sailing of affairs and maintain law and order on the day of the election. He also criticised PPP leader and minister Saeed Ghani for his remarks in which he allegedly held the people of Karachi responsible for the city’s civic and infrastructure issues. The JI leader alleged that provincial minister Saeed Ghani was “trying to shift responsibility from the government’s corruption and incapability to Karachiites”.

He asked Ghani if he believed Karachiites were responsible for skyrocketing street crime, power load-shedding, tanker mafia, acute water shortage, sewerage issues, broken roads and every aspect under the ambit of the government. He said that after the Karachi police chief, Ghani had accused Karachiites of exaggerating the city’s issues. In fact, he added, this mindset rooted in feudalism wanted to gradually capture Karachi and was trying to extend its influence.

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