KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — the two major coalition partners in the PDM-led federal government — have decided not to take part in the upcoming by-elections to the National Assembly constituencies in the port city.
The decision was taken keeping in view the current economic and political situation of the country.
From the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Mustafa Kamal, Dr Farooq Sattar, Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Rauf Siddiqui and others have withdrawn their nomination papers.
From the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shehla Raza, Shahida Rehmani, Khawaja Sohail and others have withdrawn nomination papers.
As per the ECP schedule, candidates can withdraw their nomination papers till February 22. The nine constituencies whereby by-polls are scheduled include: NA-241 Korangi Karachi-III; NA-242 Karachi East-I; NA-243 Karachi East-II; NA-244 Karachi East-III; NA-247 Karachi South-II; NA-250 Karachi West-III; NA-252 Karachi West-V; NA-254 Karachi Central-II; and NA-256 Karachi Central-IV.
ANP decides not contest by-elections to NA in KP
Earlier on Wednesday, the Awami National Party (ANP) decided against contesting by-elections to National Assembly seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in protest against the decision of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) whose sole candidate will contest on multiple seats.
ANP leader Aimal Wali Khan said on Wednesday his party would not take part in the elections as a certain party, without naming PTI, brings only one candidate, former prime minister Imran Khan, to contest on all the seats.
“A so-called political party (PTI) has made a joke of the electoral system. They are wasting billions of rupees of public exchequer by nominating only one candidate for multiple seats and then there will be the repeat of the voting exercise in case one candidate wins these seats as he can retain only one seat,” Wali Khan rued.
He claimed that a certain party was busy in creating an atmosphere of political intolerance and sullying the parliament’s prestige.
Keeping in view the severe economic crisis the country was going through, it would be an injustice if billions would be spent on by-elections when general polls were due after three months.
Wali Khan said that the ANP had announced its candidates for the polls on 18 NA seats and the party was ready to contest the polls.
“If general elections will be held tomorrow, the ANP is ready to contest polls with full force,” he asserted.
He said that the request to boycott the by-elections came from the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
“The ANP has decided not to take part in the by-elections after holding consultations with all of its allies,” Wali Khan said, thanking party workers who ran a “vigorous” election campaign in a short period of time.
ECP FORMS COMMITTEE TO REVIEW ELECTION RECORD
The Election Commission of Pakistan has constituted an inquiry committee over irregularities in LG polls in Karachi.
“The committee will review the record and documents of the returning and presiding officers and the case will move ahead in the light of its recommendations,” Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has said.
The election commission has directed the committee to submit its report before February 28.
The Returning and Presiding officers of LG polls in Karachi appeared before the election commission panel in the case of alleged irregularities in election today.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman and People’s Party’s Saeed Ghani and Shahida Rehmani were present in the courtroom.
Chief Election Commission told presiding officers to reply carefully adding that they could be terminated from jobs and sent to jail in case of false statement.
“There are differences in forms given to returning officers and polling agents,” the CEC said.
Most of the ROs said they could not confirm the forms with the polling agents. “We had sent forms to the ROs,” presiding officers said.
Polling agents complained about firing during the election on the polling day.
“What you were doing during such incidents,” bench asked the AC Orangi Town. “I am a human what I could, I also have other works to do. You call me in a case in single case,” the assistant commissioner replied. “These duties performed by humans and you have been posted for it,” member commission Ikramullah Khan said. “Write the chief secretary to suspend the AC,” CEC directed.
“I wanted your arrest,” another ECP member Hassan Bharwana said. “I also remain an AC but didn’t courage to act like this,” he added. “Chief Minister Sindh should be complained about this attitude,” he said.
“It is inappropriate, I apologize for it,” PPP’s Saeed Ghani said.
“Why the polls were not made flawless, it was responsibility of the election commission,” Hafiz Naeem said. “The proceedings are being conducted on your request,” member election commission Nisar Durrani replied. “Yes, but the case is being delayed,” Hafiz Naeem complained.
“Jamaat Islami has not been entitled to file the case in place of the concerned candidate,” Saeed Ghani said. “Votes were recounted in three union committees, two of which won by the PPP and third by the JI,” Ghani said. “They call for recounting but level allegations after defeat,” PPP leader said.
“Our people travel from Karachi to here, it is a painful process,” Saeed Ghani complained.
“The final arguments are remaining, the case will not take much time now,” CEC replied. “We will not call you from Karachi again and again,” he added.
Further hearing of the case adjourned till February 28.
The election commission on Tuesday issued warrants of the presiding officers after they failed to appear in the hearing.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in initial proceedings vowed to rectify anomalies in results of the local government elections in Karachi and also promised to take action against those found responsible for committing alleged irregularities in election results.