PPP leads as opposition cries foul of ‘mass rigging’ in LG polls in urban Sindh

— ECP unveils official results after massive delays as PTI, JI cry foul 

— The PPP is followed by JI and PTI 

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The PPP emerged the biggest winner with 93 seats and the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) close second with 86 seats in the second phase of the Local Government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad marred with allegations of massive rigging and vote fraud.

According to the complete results, the PTI was a distant third with 40 seats, followed by the PML-N with seven seats. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday released the final consolidated results of all 235 union councils in Sindh’s Karachi division after close to a 30-hour wait amid PTI and JI crying foul. 

Polling in the provincial capital was held on Sunday for the posts of chairman and vice chairman.

The electoral body said the remaining results will be released by night and acknowledged that the process was a complicated one and required time to prepare the result of one union council.

The elections have been marred by electoral irregularities, rigging allegations, low voter turnout, and an unusual delay in results from polling stations, with many calling for stronger measures to ensure the safety of public officials.

The PTI accused the PPP, provincial administration and the tribunal of misconduct and rigging, warning of a strong reaction if any attempts were made to tamper with the election results.

Jamaat-e-Islami echoed similar reservations and allegations, with its Karachi chief Naeem ur-Rehman holding a press conference in Karachi and threatening to stage sit-in protests if the results of the local body elections were not announced on time. He alleged that some deputy commissioners were working in favour of the Sindh government and interfering in the process.

JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem claimed that his party secured the biggest number of seats. He alleged that eight seats were “given to the PPP”, saying that the JI had the signed Form 11s of those UCs to prove it.

He claimed that the party’s total seats were actually 94 and it had appealed for a recount in 10 seats.

The JI announced a nationwide series of protests and rallies in different cities against what it alleged was tampering with Karachi’s results.

 

The Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), the key contestant in Hyderabad and rural districts of the province, rejected the electoral process and demanded “immediate intervention” of the state institutions.

Sindh Minister and President of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Karachi Division Saeed Ghani claimed that PPP had won over 100 Union Councils/Union Committees of the metropolis during the second phase of local government elections as per the unofficial results.

While addressing a press conference in a Committee Room of the Sindh Assembly, he said that after the announcement of complete results, they were in better position to nominate their own Mayor.

PPP Karachi Division’s General Secretary Javed Nagori and others were also present on the occasion.

Saeed Ghani said that the citizens of Karachi expressed their confidence in PPP in the previous day elections and PPP had emerged as a single largest party in the city.

He also felicitated Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) ‘s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, saying, that JI seemed to be runner-up in the race for the elections according to the unofficial results.

The elections on January 15 came under question when the two parties alleged that the results were deliberately being delayed. However, earlier in the day, the commission defended the delay, insisting the process of preparing and releasing results for each union council (UC) was complicated and time-consuming.

Provincial Election Commissioner Ejaz Anwar Chauhan clarified that each UC consists of four wards and around 20 polling stations and the final result of a UC remains incomplete if a result sheet of even one polling station is left.

The PPP accused the PTI of violating the rules and going beyond all set rules to sabotage the peaceful process, mainly in Karachi.

Unofficial results from Hyderabad put the PPP in pole position on the majority of seats, however, there was no official word as to who is leading the polls in Karachi. All three major political parties — Jamaat-i-Islami, PTI and PPP — claimed they were leading the race in Karachi.

The ECP urged patience, saying that the results were being transferred to the offices of returning officers from all polling stations.

PPP wins in Hyderabad too

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday announced the official results of 55 Union Committees (UCs) of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC), out of 160 UCs.

According to the official results announced so far, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has secured the largest number of seats of chairman and vice chairman of the UCs.

The PPP is followed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in second place.

The PPP candidates have emerged victorious from 28 UCs, including 13 uncontested UCs.

The PPP has won from the following UCs 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59,60, 61, 62, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 105, 131and 136.

On the other hand, the PTI candidates have secured from 17 UCs namely 102, 103, 104, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 120,121, 122, 132 and 133.

Five UCs 79, 106, 123, 134 and 135 have gone in favour of independent candidates while Jamaat-e-Islami managed to bag just one UC number 124.

The results of the chairman and vice chairman of four UCs, including UC 17, 118, 119 and 137 have not been announced so far, while the results of the wards of the same four UCs have been declared.

‘ECP WITHHOLDING RESULTS’

Meanwhile, Naeem ur-Rehman, the chief of the Karachi chapter of Jamaat-i-Islami, has claimed his party has emerged victorious in over 100 seats in the Sindh local government elections.

At a press conference early on Monday, Rehman alleged the returning officers were “withholding results” and attempts were being made to rig them. He urged the tribunal to take notice and stop the officers responsible for tampering the results.

Rehman stressed that his party had worked hard and been the only one to demand the elections, praising the ECP when it fulfilled its responsibility.

However, he warned the PPP and ECP against depriving people of their rights and said the matter should be resolved within the next few hours.

JI OPEN TO ALLIANCE TO SECURE KARACHI MAYOR OFFICE

Separately, in an interview on the Geo News programme “Geo Pakistan,” Rehman expressed a willingness to form alliances with other political parties if necessary.

He stated that his party wants to manage the municipality independently, but is open to holding talks with other parties for an alliance. When asked if he would join the PTI or PPP, Rehman said he will hold talks with all parties for the betterment of Karachi.

He also mentioned that Jamaat-i-Islami emerged as the number one party through hard work, adding they have received votes from all political parties. He also said that, as per their calculation, the Jamaat-i-Islami has won in over 90 UCs and the number is likely to increase to over 100.

He also regretted the efforts made to reduce his party seats, stating that it should not have been done.

He also talked about the future plans for the city, saying that the first thing his party wants to do is clean Karachi and will require the help of federal and provincial governments for this.

Meanwhile, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari “thanked” the people of Karachi and Hyderabad for supporting his party in the elections. Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman, a member of PPP, also congratulated party supporters on the “victory of the PPP in the second phase of the local government elections,” claiming the results reveal a “historic defeat” for the PTI.

Rehman added that the people of Sindh have chosen the PPP and rejected the narrative of the PTI.

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