MQM-P withdraws from local government elections in Karachi, Hyderabad.

MQM-P announced in the early hours of Sunday that it will boycott the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions after its repeated requests for changes in delimitations were turned down by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The MQM-P, an ally of the PPP in the current coalition government, lobbied for Sunday's local body polls in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions to be postponed until the issue of delimitations is settled. It managed to get the PPP to do its part to delay the polls, only to see the Election Commission of Pakistan veto the move.

After hours of internal discussions, the party held a press conference after midnight, announcing its decision.

Party leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that "neither the voters list, nor the delimitations and arrangements for the elections are appropriate".

He said that the party waited till the last minute for the election commission to "right the wrongs" and do justice but to no avail.

Siddiqui urged the voters to also "stay home" and boycott the polls as "your vote will not be counted the right way."

The MQM-P chief appeared to give PPP the clean chit, saying that it did its part to resolve the delimitation issue, but the ECP intervened. He also said that the party will not quit the coalition government or "blackmail" anyone due to the frail economic and political situation.

Earlier, Bilawal had offered the party some last-minute advice. Talking to Geo News, he said the MQM-P was a "very old and senior" political party and advised it to "fully participate" in the LG elections, adding that the elections were very important so political parties could work together for the development of Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.

When asked what impact MQM-P's departure from the coalition could have on the future of the federal government, Bilawal said: "I think this decision of leaving the government will be a non-political one. I think such a decision won't be taken and the federal government is confident on its [strength of] numbers - if such a phase comes then we will manage it."

He said the PPP was in continuous contact with its...

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