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LG polls 2014: MQM, PTI hail SHC verdict, ready to contest polls

31 December, 2013

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has welcomed Sindh High Court (SHC) decision of declaring amendments to Sindh Local Government Act 2013 unconstitutional.

A divisional bench of the court made the decision after receiving multiple requests from political parties including MQM and Jamaat-e-Islami, which termed the amendments to the bill unlawful. The bench ruled that in case Sindh government considered the exercise of delimitation necessary prior to the LG elections in the province, it might request the Supreme Court and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for extending date of elections.

Political parties in Sindh have expressed different opinions on whether the local bodies elections could be held in the province on January 18 after the SHC annulled the third amendment in SLGA, 2013.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) opposed elections on January 18, while the MQM and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are ready to contest polls on the said date.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain in a statThe court said elections would not be delayed because of this decision, the barrister stated. He also said that Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah had told him earlier that the Sindh government would follow the court's decision on this issue.

MQM leader Faisal Sabzwari said that the elections should be held on January 18, as per schedule, announced by the ECP.

Talking to media after the party's parliamentary meeting in Sindh Assembly, Sabzwari said that his party was ready for elections and now the ball was in the PPP's court to inform when they would conduct elections.

He said that the SHC ruling was the success of the people of Sindh. "The new delimitation was an attempt to divide the province into urban and rural population, but the court foiled this attempt."

PTI leader and Member of Sindh Assembly, Khurram Sher Zaman applauded the decision by the court and said that his party was ready for polls on January 18 under delimitations of 2001.

"We have reservations over delimitations in 2001 but they were much better than delimitations in SLGA 2013. We think that the delimitation by PPP was an attempt to open up more space for them in Karachi."

PML-N leader Irfanullah Marwat also welcomed the high court's verdict but said that if elections were held under delimitations of 2001, his party would once again approach the court. Marwat said that the elections would not be possible on January 18, so the government should go for elections after completing all procedures.

PML-F leader Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said that they were hopeful that the court would strike down this Act and the decision was the success of democracy. She said that if PPP wanted to approach the apex court against this ruling, they could do that, but PML-F was hopeful that the apex court would uphold the high court's decision.

She was of the view that elections are not possible on January 18, as the new process will take time. "Things should not be done in a hurry," she said.

The court decision also declare d that the elections should be held according to the delimitation that was done for the 2001 elections, adding that if new delimitation was considered necessary, then an impartial forum should be made for that purpose.

Earlier, MQM had rejected the amendments in Sindh Local Government Bill 2013, terming it a 'black law'.

End.

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