LG polls in Karachi, Hyderabad on Jan 15.

ISLAMABAD -- After multiple delays in the local goveArnment elections in two divAisions of Sindh, the ElecAtion Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday finally annAAounced that the second phase of local bodies polls in Karachi and Hyderabad would be held on Jan 15.

Announcing the verdict it had reserved on Nov 15, the election watchdog asked the Sindh government, the chief secretary, and the provincial police chief to provide a 'sufficient number of security personnel for election duty at the polling stations, offices of the district returning officers, returning officers, polling staff and transportation of polling material from and to the offices of the ROs'.

'For its part, the government of Sindh is directed to ensure that requisite assistance, whether by way of adequate security or otherwise is rendered to the ECP in the matter, as per Article 220 of the Constitution, and the chief secretary of Sindh and the inspector general of police are to ensure that any preparatory or organisational steps as are required for the purpose of taken well in advance of the dates so that any and all impediment in that regard are surmounted by then,' the ECP added.

The commission also asked the federal government and the interior secretary for a 'sufficient number of security personnel from other law enforcement agencies' to conduct elections in a peaceful manner.

According to the ECP, local governments in Sindh expired on August 30, 2020, and the commission was under a constitutional and legal obligation to hold elections within 120 days after the expiry of the tenure. It said despite all possible efforts to conduct elections in the province, the Sindh government 'acted in a manner to delay' the polls.

The election watchdog also cited a ruling of the Supreme Court which 'held that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment that the ECP is charged with the duty of...

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