MQM-P announced to boycott the LG elections in Karachi and Hyderabad

MQM-P used the issue of delimitations to avoid a possible humiliating defeat in the LG elections in Karachi and Hyderabad

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) announced to boycott the local government (LG) elections in Karachi and Hyderabad division just hours before the start of the polling. The main reason of this decision seems to be the fear of a defeat in the elections. MQM-P used the issue of delimitations to run away from today’s LG elections. MQM-P realised that it is not in the position to win the majority in Karachi to elect its own mayor.

The party tried to put pressure on the federal and Sindh government to postpone the elections but failed to achieve its goal. MQM-P even threatened to quit the ruling coalition in Islamabad. The Sindh government wrote two letters to ECP to postpone the elections but ECP refused to further delay the LG polls.

The party's statement came after it had demanded fresh delimitation before holding the local body elections, and despite the Sindh government's announcement to delay the polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to go ahead with the polls on January 15.

The second round of LG elections was scheduled to take place on July 24 last year, but the Sindh government excused itself from holding the polls over the lack of security and police presence due to the flooding. Later, the elections were also postponed on August 28 and October 23. Finally, after much ado, the polls will take place today.

In a press conference alongside the party's senior leadership, MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool said: "The local body elections have already been rigged. Accordingly, we refuse to recognise the polls."

Dr Siddiqui added that the election commission was formed to conduct the polls in a transparent manner. “However, the election commission has not fulfilled its responsibility towards its main function. The party protested against this injustice.”

"We have been fighting for justice until today. The provincial government also drew the ECP's attention to the delimitations of the constituencies," he said. But, the ECP turned a deaf ear to all entreaties of MQM-P, he claimed.

"All the efforts that Muttahida put in were not meant for the mayorship but for the proper representation of the city," he emphasised. He went on to say that the city would not acknowledge these elections as “there is no voter list or delimitations properly managed by the ECP”. “

Accordingly, the party is withdrawing from today's local bodies elections in protest,” he said, calling on the citizens of the metropolis to withdraw their right to vote.

The ECP, he also said, did not listen to the MQM-P's reservations. "Therefore, we will not participate in elections that will not lead to democracy and that will not reflect a mandate," he said.

The MQM-P leader appealed to citizens to remain at home and participate in the protest. It is because the results of today's elections are not going to reach the people, he stressed.

According to the party convener, the true heir of the city “will return again”. “The MQM-P will start its concerted and organised work from January 16 for the general elections," he added.

                                                                             Khalid Bhatti            

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