Delay in results, rigging claims put question mark on LG polls.

KARACHI -- After remaining largely smooth and peaceful throughout the day on Sunday, the local government elections in Karachi, Hyderabad and other parts of Sindh came under a question mark later in the night when contesting parties accused the ruling PPP of vote rigging and criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan as a 'helpless and silent spectator'.

The PPP, on the other hand, blamed its rivals, mainly the PTI, for deliberately sabotaging the peaceful process after sensing defeat in most parts of the province, including its stronghold Karachi.

The situation emerged hours after polling ended at 5pm, with parties alleging that the results of the second phase of local government elections in Sindh were deliberately being delayed in Karachi.

The PTI openly accused the PPP and the provincial administration of wrongdoing, warning that any attempt to 'change the results' after voting would lead to a strong reaction.

'I am closely monitoring the results of each polling station, ward and UCs [union councils],' tweeted Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, the PTI president in Sindh.

He said his party was 'coming out as the leading party in Karachi. I am also being informed about games being played behind the scenes by the dirty forces of PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement]. Political engineers should respect public mandate'.

Delay in results

Jamaat-i-Islami came up with the same reservations and allegations. Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, the party's Karachi chief, held at a hurriedly called press conference at its headquarters in the city and warned of sieging the polling stations where he said results were deliberately being delayed 'to manage things'.

'With this complaint, I personally contacted a senior member of the Sindh government who assured a smooth process and announcement of results,' he said.

He said that in Central District, the deputy commissioner had announced recounting at several polling stations without informing about the fate of the first count.

In Hyderabad and rural districts of the province, the key contestant Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) - an umbrella of different political parties representing the opposition - rejected the electoral process and demanded 'immediate intervention' of the state institutions. It also blamed the ECP for facilitating the ruling PPP in rigging and violation of the code of conduct.

'In Badin, Matiari and Saeedabad, the PPP feudal lords have broken all records of violation and rigging and this is all happening...

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