The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday announced that local government elections for Karachi and Hyderabad will finally take place on Jan. 15, 2023, after several delays and postponements over various reasons.
Announcing a verdict that had been reserved on Nov. 15, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said polling would take place next year. This followed a ruling by the Sindh High Court last week in which it had directed the ECP to announce a new schedule for local body polls within 15 days. It also urged the ECP to conclude the polling within 60 days.
Local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad were initially set to occur in July, but were delayed due to monsoon rains and flooding. Since then, the Sindh government has repeatedly cited various reasons—from floods to a lack of sufficient security personnel—for the repeated rescheduling of dates for the election.
Originally scheduled for July 24, the elections were initially delayed till Aug. 28 and then again till Oct. 24 after the provincial government claimed it could not provide any security for polling stations, as personnel were busy tackling the situation in flood-hit areas of the province. With floodwaters receding, the Sindh cabinet earlier this month had sought additional delays to the polling exercise by approving a measure to postpone the polls in Karachi for a further 90 days in accordance with the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.
Hailing the development, the Jamaat-e-Islami—which has been demanding the polls take place—said the ECP needed to ensure there were no further delays. Stressing that the public’s trust had already been betrayed several times, the party said polling must take place per the new schedule to ensure voters came out in sufficient numbers for a successful election.