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JI warns of protest over results delay: Karachi LG polls

Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Karachi chapter, Hafiz Naeemur Rahman, warned of protest sit-ins across the city on Sunday if the results of Sindh’s much-awaited second round of local body elections were not revealed on time.

The statements came amid an unprecedented delay in the release of the findings, which were due by 10 p.m., according to media sources. The voting began at 8 a.m. in the province’s 16 districts and lasted until 5 p.m. without a break.

Naeem told media that the presiding officers were required by law to provide Forms 11 and 12, but that some Deputy Commissioners working for the PPP-led Sindh government were interfering with the process.

He said that even after 10 p.m., his party had not received the paperwork.

“There will be sit-ins across the city if the forms are not delivered within the next hour and the ROs do not declare the results,” he threatened, adding that the party will outline its approach following consultation.

The JI chief asked party members and the general public to surround voting sites. “We will not accept rigging and will not allow them to steal our mandate,” he said.

He went on to say that JI will congratulate whoever wins, but that meddling with the outcome was inappropriate.

Despite delaying tactics and uncertainty surrounding the last round of the local government elections for more than two years, voting was ultimately held. The MQM-P, one of the two cities’ most popular political parties, however, boycotted the elections.

There was also a delay in the distribution of polling materials from the dispatch centers set up in all of the city’s districts yesterday. However, by the evening, voting boxes, ballot paper, ink, and other materials had been distributed.

There are a total of 17,862 applicants contesting, including 9,057 from Karachi, 6,228 from Hyderabad, and 2,577 from the Thatta division.

Karachi has about four million registered voters and 4,990 voting booths. Of them, 3,415 were classified as sensitive, 1,496 as extremely sensitive, and 79 as normal.

Karachi Division’s seven districts were split into 25 settlements. District Central is the largest district, with five towns and 45 union committees, and over two million registered voters.

District East is the second most populous district, comprising five municipalities, 43 union committees, and over 1.4 million voters.

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has stated that the “extremely low” voter participation in the local body elections demonstrates that the people of Karachi and Hyderabad rejected the “illegitimate” elections.
“Because of the very low voter turnout, local body elections were illegitimate, and the people of Karachi and Hyderabad have rejected this attempt at pre-poll manipulation,” MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told reporters on Sunday.

He was speaking at a news conference in Karachi alongside other party officials, including Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Kamal, and others, at the party’s Bahadurabad headquarters.

“No one will accept these local body elections since they have no legal standing, and the people have rejected this plot to take away their rights,” he continued.

Siddiqui added that the bulk of the voters did not come out at the voting booths “which is a verdict in favor of the MQM’s boycott”.

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