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Fearing violence, PTI, JI want army deployed at polling stations

Fearing violence, PTI, JI want army deployed at polling stations

KARACHI: Hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected the plea of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and ruled that the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions will be held on Jan 15, key opposition parties on Monday demanded deployment of troops of army and Rangers fearing that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) use government machinery on the day of polling.

They also cited the deadly violence during the first phase of the local government elections in the province when the ruling party got its over 1,000 candidates elected unopposed “exploiting its powers”.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami held separate press conferences but made a similar demand while expressing fears of rigging by the ruling party.

PPP, other parties may resort to violence, says PTI

Senior PTI leader Ali Zaidi told a press conference that his “reliable sources” disclosed that the ruling PPP and some other political parties could resort to violence and chaos to harass voters to keep them away from the electoral process.

MQM-P terms ECP decision to hold LG polls on old voter list, delimitation ‘sheer injustice

“This all is being so that they [PPP] can rig the results, as they cannot defeat PTI in a free and fair election,” he said.

“We have already approached the ECP requesting it to declare all polling stations in Karachi and Hyderabad as sensitive so that the deployment of the army and Rangers inside and outside each polling station can be assured,” he said.

JI concerns over PPP’s ‘ill intentions’

JI’s city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman while referring to the results of the first phase of the local government elections in the Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas divisions said that the ruling PPP had managed to get elected unopposed its over 1,000 candidates with the help of government machinery.

“The biased attitude of returning officers and district returning officers depict the ill intentions of the PPP for the January 15 elections,” he said, adding: “The deployment of the Pakistan army and Rangers personnel at polling stations is very crucial to maintain smooth flow of affairs and transparency on the polling day.”

He said that the JI had written to the chief election commissioner asking him to ensure deployment of the army and Rangers at polling stations on the same grounds.

On the other hand, the MQM-P strongly reacted against the ECP ruling and called it a “sheer injustice” with the people of urban Sindh.

The party vowed to consider all legal and possible options to challenge the ECP ruling.

“With this ruling, the ECP has failed to ensure free and fair local government elections for people of Karachi and Hyderabad,” the party said in a statement.

It has already announced a protest demonstration on Jan 11 (tomorrow) against the “fake and biased delimitation”. It said it would never accept the results of the election that was going to be held on fake voter lists and illegal delimitation.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2023

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