Sindh opposition divided over LG polls timeframe

Karachi: The opposition parties in Sindh Assembly are divided over the decision made by the provincial cabinet to delay local bodies’ elections till March 2014. Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) has come forward as staunch opponent of the decision while Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) seemed supporting the PPP decision. The major opposition party in provincial assembly Muttahida Qaumi Movement said that they are ready for LG election whether they are held in January or in March.

Speaking to PPI over telephone, MQM lawmaker Irum Azeem Farooque said that MQM was an organized party and they were ready for elections at any time. She said that the party had expressed its reservation over the new delimitations and filed a petition in Supreme Court of Pakistan.

“We think that new delimitations are an attempt to steal our mandate so if the elections were held in these circumstance, they will not be credible. The government and the apex court should resolve this matter as early as possible to maintain credibility of the LG elections.”

Meanwhile, rejecting the cabinet’s decision over local bodies’ polls, PML-F leader Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said that PPP was not sincere in holding local bodies’ election in the province as they wasted last five years in preparation for these elections and they would also waste this five-year tenure.

“If they were sincere, they should have made arrangements for local elections during their last five-year tenure. It was the PPP government which assured the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the local elections will be held in the province in November 2013 but now the date had been extended to January 18 and it would continue to be extended until their tenure ends.”

She alleged that the provincial government had started pre-poll rigging in the province by appointing commissioners and deputy commissioners, who are loyal to PPP. “If government is willing to hold elections in the province, arrangements could be made till January 18 but what we had observed from PPP’s behaviour is that they were not ready to hold LG polls.”

She said that her party was ready for elections on January 18 and despite rigging attempts, PML-F would perform better in the elections.

Contrary to PML-F, provincial lawmaker of PTI, Khurram Sher Zaman, said they were ready for elections on January 18 but it would be beneficial if elections are after full preparations. “It is better to hold elections in March 2013 rather than holding it in January and making a mess of it.”

He said that if the government is saying that they need time for preparations than it should contact Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the apex court over the issue.

However, PML-N lawmaker Irfanullah Marwat said that the PPP’s decision to delay polls till March was wise one as if the elections were held in January, they could be declared null and void due to the reservations of major stakeholders of the province. He said that it was better to delay elections till March so that political parties get time to manage their campaigns for these elections.

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