Karachi: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ruled out any further postponement of local government polls in Karachi, declaring that the elections in the provincial capital will be held on October 23, as per the schedule.
The decision to this effect was reached at a meeting of the ECP chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner, Sikandar Sultan Raja.
The meeting considered government’s request to further delay the polls for another three months due to persisting flood situation in the province.
The government informed the ECP that the police weren’t available in Karachi in the required strength to maintain law and order on the polling day as they were busy with relief and security duties in the aftermath of floods.
The local government polls in Karachi were twice postponed because of torrential monsoon rains and floods.
After considering the latest request of the government, the ECP decided to conduct the polls without any further delay.
It reiterated that government and law-enforcement agencies were under the obligation to maintain security for the peaceful conduct of the polls.
The ECP asked the government to redeploy police to Karachi polling stations for the smooth conduct of the polls. The ECP said that it was also in touch with Interior and Defence ministries in Islamabad to ensure that army and rangers’ personnel were deployed to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections at the polling stations that have been declared highly sensitive.
The commission maintained that it had received only 25 per cent of finances it required to hold the local government polls so the federal government should immediately release the rest of the money.
The ECP Secretary informed the meeting that arrangements had also been finalised to ensure smooth conduct of the by-elections in the nine constituencies of the National Assembly and three constituencies of the Punjab Assembly on October 16.