Karachi: Sindh government on Friday reverted from its decision to hold local government elections in the province in March 2014 and agreed to the decision of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding them on January 18.
The announcement was made by Sindh Minister for Information and Local Bodies, Sharjeel Inam Memon after a cabinet meeting at Chief Minister House.
Memon said that the decision was made after getting assurances of free and fair elections in the province from the ECP. “The commission had been officially informed regarding the decision of the provincial government,” he said.
Sources privy to the cabinet meeting said that the provincial government decided to hold elections after the election commission refused to extend the date further. The cabinet also mulled approaching the Supreme Court of Pakistan for seeking delay in polls but majority of the members were against exercising this option, they said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem Hotiana on Thursday met acting chief of ECP Justice Nasirul Mulk and requested to postpone LG elections till March 2014 but the acting chief refused the proposal and decided to hold elections on January 18, 2014.
Speaking to PPI on phone, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Dr Sikander Ali Mandhro said that the recent decision of the provincial government was based on Article 141-2 of the Constitution which states that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was responsible to conduct elections.
“I have already expressed my opinion that the elections will be held on the date announced by the commission and now provincial government has expressed its willingness to hold elections on January 18.” He said that the election commission would announce the schedule for the elections on December 16 (Monday).
Moreover, Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza told PPI that the provincial government overturned its decision of holding elections in March 2014 after Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) assured that concerns regarding magnetic ink and other issues would be resolved.
She said that the ongoing operation against criminals in Karachi would not be affected due to the LG elections. “The operation is continuing against criminal and not against political groups,” she said, adding that political groups were free to openly participate in the elections.
She further said that in some areas PPP, MQM and ANP were forced to quit election campaign in general elections due to threats from militant outfits but despite of that PPP was successful in making government in the province. She said that the PPP would be able to achieve more successes in Sindh, especially in Karachi.