Sindh LB polls

ECP refusal to postpone paves way for polls today

Karachi and Hyderabad divisions of Sindh will go to the polls on Sunday (today) to elect local councils to replace those dissolved in 2020. The main contests are for the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, which will see the MQM vying for control with the PPP and the Jamaat Islami, as well as the PTI. The MQM, which had been split into various factions, and the Pak Sarzameen Party, had recently come together. Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, who had taken office in October, had played an important role in bringing all together. The ECP had been asked to postpone the polls because the MQM was dissatisfied by the ward delimitations, and wanted fresh ones. The ECP found the present delimitations adequate, as representing the latest census. The MQM does not accept the census, as its appeal for a forensic audit of the wards was not accepted. While a new census is due in February, to wait for it, and then carry out delimitation under it, would mean postponing the polls by months. Apart from what this might mean for the various councils elected in the province’s other 14 districts last June, it would involve too long a delay for the ECP, especially when there seemed no legal bar to holding the polls on delimitations based on a census that currently holds the field.
It might seem a cruel irony that such a metropolis as Hyderabad should lack its own elected civic body, let alone Karachi, which is one of the world’s metropoles, but that is the result of politics. The previous Mayor of Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, ended his tenure last year with a plea for financial autonomy, which indicates that the dependence on the provincial government for funds rankled. It was also to be noted that in the latest federal-provincial tussle over Karachi, the local government was kept out, even though its constituents were most affected.
There are said to be wheels within wheels. The Sindh provincial government, formed by the PPP, does not like being so completely excluded from its own capital, and is said to be pulling out all stops to get one of its members elected as Mayor. The MQM’s recent protest almost saw it pull out of the PDM-led coalition, and was over the local body polls. It is to be hoped that not only are the elections held peacefully, but the results are accepted in good spirit.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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