Amid mounting tension, ECP takes note of 'irregularities'.

KARACHI -- Controversy surrounding the Jan 15 LG polls in Karachi deepened on Wednesday as the Election Commission took notice of alleged irregularities in six union councils (UCs) amid accusations by Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq and PTI chairman Imran Khan that

the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had used the resources of the Sindh government to 'manipulate the results and change the original vote count'.

Initial unofficial results gave PPP 93 seats out of the 235 contested. While 86 seats went to JI, 40 were grabbed by PTI. The rest of the seats were won by smaller parties and independent candidates.

On Wednesday, the poll watchdog 'finally' responded to the allegations of irregularities in six UCs amid a PPP claim that it had won another UC.

After hours-long protest outside the offices of returning officers (ROs) in Karachi's three districts by the workers of opposition JI and PTI, the ECP announced that it would look into their grievances on Jan 23.

'The ECP has taken notice of alleged irregularities in six union councils of Karachi...,' said a brief statement issued by the watchdog. 'Taking notice of Jamaat-i-Islami's request regarding the irregularities, the Election Commission has summoned the district election commissioner, relevant winning candidates, relevant Returning Officers, District Returning Officers and runner-up candidates to appear on Jan 23 in the ECP.'

JI had approached the ECP with a complaint of post-voting irregularities in UC-3, district West, Orangi 1; UC-7, district West, Orangi 2; UC-8, district West, Orangi 3; UC-3, district West, Momin Abad 4; UC-12, Manghopir 5; and, UC-1, district East, Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

The ECP decision, however, failed to bring the political temperature down, as the new phenomena of recount on a PPP request triggered strong protest by JI and PTI. By the end of the day, the ROs had initiated vote recount in at least six UCs.

Though ECP didn't share the outcome of any recount, PPP claimed it had won a seat in the Central district which it had earlier lost to JI.

The development fuelled tension as the opposition took to the streets against the ECP decision dubbing it a move from the ruling party to counter the protest against its 'post-poll rigging'.

'My 200 votes weren't included in the final count and the PPP candidate was declared having a lead of 37 votes,' said Wajid Khan, a JI candidate of UC-1 from Gulshan-i-Iqbal Town while protesting outside the DRO office on the University...

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