Current AffairsPakistanPolitics

As results trickle in, PPP leads Karachi’s local body elections

KARACHI/HYDERABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is in the driving seat as the much-awaited results of Karachi’s local body elections are trickling in, with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) trailing behind, official numbers showed Monday.

The delay in the release of results — despite the polling being closed at 5pm on Sunday — had prompted rigging allegations from the opposition parties — Jamat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F).

However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) assured the parties that the results of the local elections would be completed by evening, while the PPP-led government also denied its involvement in rigging the polls.

So far, the election commission has released the results of 106 union committees (UCs) out of a total of 246. PPP leads with victories on 58 UCs, JI has secured second place with 31, PTI 26, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) four, while JUI-F, Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), and an independent have won one seat each.

PTI suffered a major setback in Karachi local bodies polls when Khurram Sher Zaman — who was considered the party’s candidate for the top slot of the mayor — lost to PPP’s Najmi Alam in Saddar. However, the initial results of the much-delayed local body election’s second phase in Karachi could not be finalised even past midnight despite the polling process ending at 5pm, political parties started claiming that “rigging is underway in the metropolis”.

The voting kicked off at 8am on Sunday and continued uninterrupted, with reports of sporadic clashes. However, several confrontations were also reported even after the polling process ended.

The parties seemingly did not respond strongly to the clashes, however, later on, claims were made that the Sindh government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were involved in delaying the release of results.

As hundreds of thousands of people headed to vote in a bid to elect their local representatives, many political parties had also earlier complained and demanded the ECP to increase the polling time as the process began late at some of the stations — which was accepted in some polling stations.

Analysts said that despite the process of elections being the responsibility of the election commission, it would raise questions if the PPP wins the polls in Karachi since it is the ruling party.

Jamat-e-Islami decries delay; PTI rejects results

Addressing a press conference in Karachi Monday morning, JI Karachi President Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman said: “We are not getting the results from the returning officers (RO) despite over 18 hours of delay since the conclusion of polling.”

He strongly condemned the delay and called on the authorities concerned to stop the ROs who are “trying to change the results”.

He said that a lot of people from the PPP also voted for JI. He further claimed that his party has won over 100 seats, adding that there is ambiguity on the rest of the seats.

Senior PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi, while talking on Geo News programme “Geo Pakistan”, questioned the slow dispersal of results despite the lower turnout, saying that his party rejects the election results.

“PTI is at the peak of its popularity, and the results do not reflect that,” claimed Firdous.

ECP rejects rigging allegations

Provincial Election Commissioner Aijaz Anwar Chohan on Monday rubbished the rigging allegations in the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions due to delay in results, saying that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had a “strict monitoring” mechanism to ensure free and fair elections.

The results of the much-delayed local body election’s second phase in Sindh could not be finalised even past noon on the day after polls, which gave rise to claims of “rigging” and results being engineered in Karachi.

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