JI, PPP hopeful of favourable verdict from courts


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KARACHI: After repeated delays, the local bodies elections for Karachi are done and dusted and Murtaza Wahab of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is now the Mayor of the port city but his election is still being disputed by his main rival Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

Wahab, who was elected as the Mayor in June after he took 173 votes against Rehman’s 160 votes, convened the meeting of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s City Council earlier during the month, which was marred with chaos as the JI refused to accept him as Mayor. This opposition by the JI against Wahab is not expected to simmer down anytime soon, whilst the party pins its hopes on the courts to declare Wahab’s election as invalid.

In this regard, JI’s elected Union Council (UC) Chairman and candidate for Deputy Mayor, Saifuddin Advocate, told Daily City News, that there was no chance that his party would accept a rigged and dishonest election. “The PPP with the connivance of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) made invalid voter lists, created constituencies at the UC and township level which would benefit them, and altered the outcome of the polls,” the JI leader remarked.

“Furthermore, a Mayor, who was not even elected as the Chairman of a UC nor did he win any seats, has been imposed upon us. The PPP amended the local government laws to bring in their own unelected man and now expect us to accept him?”

Whilst lambasting the PPP-led Sindh government, Saifuddin Advocate further said that the law of the country says that when a person resigns from an official position, he cannot contest any election for 6 months, hence the PPP in cahoots with the ECP delayed the election until June and got Wahab elected. “We have challenged the PPP and the ECP’s illegal actions and the amendments to the law made to benefit Wahab and are hopeful of a favourable decision,” he informed.

On the other hand, Waqar Mehdi, provincial leader of the PPP, was of the view that the Sindh Assembly had every right to amend the laws and had done so. “There is also no merit in the JI’s argument that our Mayor is not a UC Chairman, as in the past Naimatullah Khan and Mustafa Kamal have become mayors despite being unelected,” said Mehdi. With regards to the JI’s petition in the courts, Mehdi said that the party was not worried about a legal challenge and would defend themselves in court. “The JI has already gone to the ECP and lost their case because they could not bring any evidence to prove their allegations, they will suffer the same fate this time around as well.”

While it remains to be seen who comes out on top in the legal battle, Dr Syed Nawaz ul Huda, a regional planner based in the city, concurring with the JI’s stance said that there is no doubt that the entire local bodies election was marred with controversies. “The PPP drawing up favourable constituencies in connivance with the ECP, prior to the election is referred to as gerrymandering and is an illegal act,” said Huda while talking to Daily City News.

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