Sharjeel says PPP govt has option to approach SC against SHC verdict on delimitations; MQM ready to contest polls on fixed date

Karachi: Political parties of Sindh province have expressed different opinions on whether the local bodies elections could be held in the province on January 18 after Sindh High Court (SHC) annulled the third amendment in Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) opposed election on January 18 while Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) are ready to take part in January 18 elections.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday struck down the third amendment made in Sindh Local Government Act 2013, ruling that amendments were unconstitutional.

The bench also set aside the delimitation proposals published in official gazette for Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana and Mirpurkhas and ruled that the entire delimitation exercise carried out by the delimitation officers was in violation of Sections 10, 11, 12 and 13 of SLGA 2013 and the guidelines issued by the provincial government.

Sindh Minister for Information and Local Bodies, Sharjeel Inam Memon, said that elections were not possible on January 18 after the high court’s ruling. “Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has an option to approach Supreme Court of Pakistan over the court’s decision, he said.

Talking to media, Memon said that they did not accept delimitations made during the then dictator, General (retd) Pervez Musharaf in 2001. “It was political bribe given by dictator to appease his supporters.” He said that new delimitations is necessary in the province.

The information minister said that the recent process of submission of nomination papers by candidates taking part in local government elections would be null and void after the high court’s decision. “Nomination forms were submitted under new delimitations, therefore, after high court’s verdict, they remain null and void.”

Moreover, talking to PPI, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Sikandar Mandhro, said that his party was not ready to hold elections under delimitations of 2001. He said that assembly approved new delimitations with majority so the court has no power to strike down these amendments. He also hinted that the PPP would challenge this decision in Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movemnet (MQM) leader Faisal Sabzwari said that the elections should be held on January 18, as per schedule, announced by Election Commission of Pakistan.

Talking to media after the party’s parliamentary meeting in Sindh Assembly, Sabzwari said that his party was ready for elections and now the ball was in the court of PPP to inform that when they would conduct elections.

He said that the SHC ruling was the success of people of Sindh. “The new delimitation was an attempt to divide province into urban and rural population but the court foiled this attempt.”

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and Member of Sindh Assembly, Khurram Sher Zaman applauded decision by the court and said that his party was ready for polls on January 18 under delimitations of 2001.

“We have reservations over delimitations in 2001 but they were much better than delimitations in Sindh Local Government Act 2013. We think that the delimitation by PPP was an attempt to open up more space for them in Karachi.”

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Irfanullah Marwat also welcomed the high court’s verdict but said that if elections is held under delimitations of 2001, his party would once again approach court. Marwat said that the elections would not be possible on January 18, so the government should go for elections after completing all procedures.

Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) leader Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said that they were hopeful that the court would strike down this Act and the decision was the success of democracy. She said that if PPP wanted to approach the apex court against this ruling, they could do that but PML-F was hopeful that the apex court would uphold the high court’s decision.

Abbasi said: “Elections are not possible on January 18, as new process will take time. Things should not be done in a hurry.”

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