'Peaceful' Sindh local polls marred by 'low turnout'.

KARACHI / HYDERABAD -- After a long delay, local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad were finally held on Sunday with people casting votes to elect their representatives.

The polling, which started at 8am, continued till 5pm in a largely peaceful manner with sporadic incidents of violence and recriminations of rigging by political parties.

Unofficial results from Hyderabad put the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in pole position on the majority of seats. However, till midnight, there was no clear word as to who was leading the polls in Karachi.

As per the media reports, the turnout remained low at the start of the day, with more voters coming out of their homes as the polling neared conclusion. There was no official word about the turnout.

Amid complaints of an inordinate delay in the announcement of results, all three major political parties - Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PPP - claimed they were leading the race.

PPP Karachi president and Sindh minister Saeed Ghani admitted that a 'neck-and-neck' race was on between his party and the JI for the top slot of Karachi mayor, Dawn.com reported.

'We have won over 100 [UC] seats,' JI Karachi emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said while addressing workers at the party headquarters Idara Noor-i-Haq.

He added that as per 'credible information' from polling agents, the party was leading on over 20 UCs, but the results were being deliberately delayed.

PTI also claimed victory as soon as the polling ended, with party leader Imran Ismail, in a tweet, claiming that his party had won the elections and Chairman Imran Khan will announce the name of the mayor.

Earlier in the day, political tension remained high as one of the major parties in Karachi and Hyderabad, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) had boycotted the polls just hours before the polling was scheduled to start.

The party, in the wee hours of Sunday, decided to sit out of the exercise after the ECP refused to meet its demand of postponing elections. MQM-P had raised objections over the delimitation and demanded the polls be put off until new delimitation were completed. The party also claimed that its boycott resulted in low turnout.

Karachi Division

While the polling started on time in many areas, there were reports of delays, prompting the political parties to seek an extension in the polling duration.

However, the ECP rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Jamaat-i-Islami's requests to extend the polling time...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT