After several delays, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday fixed the date for local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad for January 15.
“The local government elections will be held on January 15 in Karachi and Hyderabad,” the Commission stated while announcing its reserved verdict.
Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Raja announced the verdict, reserved on November 15.
The LG polls in Karachi were first postponed in July due to the monsoon rains in the city. The Sindh government had repeatedly sought the rescheduling of dates for the election.
As a result, the ECP deferred the local government elections multiple times due to the non-provision of security from the provincial government, which refrained from providing law enforcement personnel citing floods.
The elections were initially scheduled for July 24, but they were delayed due to “bad weather and rains”. Then, polling was set to take place on August 28 and October 24, but the provincial government refused to provide security.
In its latest move to delay the polling further, the provincial cabinet had earlier this month approved delaying local government elections in Karachi Division for another 90 days under Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.
Last week, in a similar case, the Sindh High Court had directed the ECP to announce a new schedule for the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad.
In its verdict on the pleas of PTI and JI, the high court directed the commission to announce a new schedule for the local body polls in both cities.
“We would not go so far as to dictate the date of the election or direct the manner in which the same ought to be conducted or policed, but would note that the ECP may notify the polling date, preferably within a period of 15 days from the date of this order,” the order mentioned.
The court demanded the ECP to specify a fresh polling date and preferably conclude the overall exercise of the “election in any event within a total period of 60 days”.