MQM rejects LG elections over delimitation concerns

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Sunday “rejected” the second phase of local gov-ernment (LG) elections in Sindh, saying that Karachi was “deprived of 70 union councils”.
Polling for the second phase of LG polls ended yesterday at 5pm. The MQM-P had announced on Saturday that it would boycott the polls in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions after repeated requests for changes in the delimitation of constituencies were turned down by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said: “Today, Karachi and Hyder-abad won and rigging lost. The people held a referendum on the party’s decision to boycott the elections by sitting at home.”

He further claimed that Karachi was “deprived” of 70 union councils during the delimitation exercise.
He said that the people had rejected “prepoll rigging” and a “conspiracy to snatch their mandate”.

Siddiqui added that the people of Karachi, Hyderabad and Tando Allahyar had foiled “all efforts to take over their cities and snatch the elections”.

Talking about the party’s boycott, he questioned if the candidates elected after today’s polls would truly be the “peo-ple’s representatives”.

“The people who win, will they have any political, democratic or moral ground [to be in government]. Will that mayor or local government be accepted by the people?”
He added that the voter turnout indicated a “big defeat” for all political parties who prioritised their interests over the people’s. “No one will accept this election. It has no moral worth.”
MQM-P leader Mustafa Kamal said the PPP government had accepted the party’s reservation over the delimitation of constituencies and conceded that 53 union councils were “missing”.

Kamal said 53 union councils represented a small city. He further said that if the MQM-P had participated in the polls regardless, it would have meant “we care about the seats and not the people”.

MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar said the other political parties had originally backed the party’s reservations about delimi-tation but were now taking part in the polls after compromising on “the people’s political rights”.

He said that any mayor or local government coming into power after the polls would be doing so based on the MQM-P’s “charity”. –Agencies