MQM plea rejected, LG polls in Sindh on 15th.

ISLAMABAD -- The ElecAtion Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has refused to delay further the local bodies elections in three divisions of Sindh - Karachi, Hyderabad, and Thatta - and ruled that the second phase of local government polls will be held as per schedule on Jan 15.

The commission rejected the petition of the MuttAahAida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) wherein the party had urged the election watchdog for the simultaneous 'use of two separate electoral rolls in the upcoming elections'.

In the verdict announced by Chief Election CommissAioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, the ECP said at the time of issuance of the schedule for the conduct of 2nd phase, old electoral rolls were in the field and in accordance with the provisions of Section 39 of the Elections Act 2017. It said these electoral rolls were frozen at that stage.

According to the ECP, at the time of the postponement, only the poll date was changed and no changes were made to the schedule for the elections. Had the schedule been withdrawn by the commission then the elections on new electoral rolls could have been held, the watchdog added.

'There was no change in schedule hence the old electoral rolls will be used for the conduct of the second phase ... in line with Section 39 of the Elections Act 2017,' it read. The ECP rejected the 'totally incorrect and misconceived argument' advanced by the MQM counsel for the simultaneous use of two electoral rolls.

The order also referred to a Supreme Court judgement passed on March 15, 2021, which stipulated that the matter of 'holding local government elections lies within the domain of the commission as per Article 219(d) of the Constitution and a province cannot dictate to the commission, if and/or when the same can be held'.

It said that as per multiple judgements of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission was bound by the Constitution and law to ensure the timely conduct of elections.

The application filed by MQM through its convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has been rejected an application filed by JI - for timely elections- is accepted, it added.

Second phase of LG elections

The second phase will be held on January 15, the ECP order said, asking the Sindh chief secretary, police chief, and...

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