LG polls will not be delayed at any cost: CEC

KARACHI (PPI): The Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday reserved the verdict on the MQM petition challenging the voters’ lists to be used during the forthcoming local government elections in Karachi. The MQM has raised objections to the voters’ lists under which the local government elections in Karachi would be held.
During the hearing, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja remarked that the commission would not let the Karachi LG polls to be delayed. The MQM lawyer said that the use of old voters’ lists during the forthcoming local government elections in Karachi was against the law. The CEC remarked that the MQM used to move to the courts in the past against the delimitations of constituencies.
“Why doesn’t the MQM bring all the issues together? If the party has another issue, it should bring it before the commission so that we will decide all cases together,” the CEC said. Sikandar Raja said that the LG polls were going to be held using the same voters’ lists on which the MQM had already contested the 2018 elections and by-elections. The MQM lawyer raised another point that on April 29, the election commission was incomplete. The CEC wondered that in its application, there was no mention of incomplete election commission. He told off the lawyer asking him to stick to his point and stopped beating about the bush.
“There is no way that the elections will be delayed. They will not be deferred at any cost,” the election commissioner remarked. Sindh Additional Advocate General Fouzi Zafar requested the commission to allow him one-week more time to present his arguments on the case. But the commission abolished the Sindh government’s right of presenting arguments over its ill-preparation of the case.
The Jamaat-i-Islami representative told the commission that every possible effort was being made to delay the polls but he requested the ECP to make sure that the LG elections would be held on Jan 15. ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal said that with every passing day, people keep becoming eligible for vote. If the ECP accepts the MQM plea, then it could never be able to conduct elections in the country, he said adding that as per the law, only those people could cast their votes whose names were registered at the time of election schedule release. The ECP DG law beseeched the commission to reject the MQM plea. He argued that voters’ lists constantly keep updating with the passage of time. It was made clear in the ECP press release that the LG polls would be held as per the old voters’ lists, he added.