Court asks ECP to set date for Karachi, Hyderabad LG polls.

KARACHI -- The Sindh High Court (SHC) has asked the electoral watchdog to hold local government elections in Karachi and HydeArabad divisions within two months and notify a polling date 'preferably within 15 days'.

However, in a detailed ordAer issued by a two-judge bench on Friday, the court said it wouldn't go so far as to dictate the polling date or direct the way elections shoAuld be conducted or policed.

The bench, comprising SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh and Justice Yusuf Ali Sayeed, also directed the Sindh government to help the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) conduct polls, and asked the Sindh's chief secretary and inspector general of police to take the required 'preparatory or organisational steps' in advance.

Local government elections in the two divisions were originally scheduled for July 24, but have been put off thrice since then, primarily because of the Sindh government's request that it didn't have the required police officials, who were busy with flood relief operations.

The polls were first put off to Aug 28, then to Oct 23, and then indefinitely, before the Sindh government on Nov 10 said it had postponed the polls on its own for 90 days.

The SHC issued the detaAiled order on petitions of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami that they filed after the polls had been postponed for the second time ahead of the Aug 28 schedule.

The judgement, authored by Justice Sayeed, said the election in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions had now been repeatedly postponed for around four months on the pretext of flood and relief operations and a definite future date was still not in sight.


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