Protest against CEC remarks
KARACHI, Jan 23: A number of political parties, mainly those in the opposition and having no representation in parliament, on Wednesday reacted strongly over the recent remarks of the chief election commissioner hinting at the impossibility of delimitation in Karachi before the general elections.
The leaders of different political parties gathered outside the Sindh election commission building on Shahrah-i-Iraq and staged a sit-in.
They said that the verification process of electoral rolls in Karachi was complete eyewash and claimed that the process was under immense influence of a certain political party.
“Things are not moving the way they were expected,” said Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Saleem Zia.
“The political parties agreed on retired Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim as he enjoys respect and dignity, but all parties gathered here believe that he has started compromising. Fair verification of Karachi electoral rolls and delimitation of constituencies in the city are crucial before the next elections.”
Justice Ebrahim on Tuesday hinted at the impossibility of delimitation in Karachi before the next general elections citing absence of a fresh census as the key reason behind the likely non-execution of the Supreme Court orders.
He said that he had asked the corps commander that he needed 17,000 troops across Karachi but the corps commander said that was not possible. However, the corps commander offered enough personnel which fulfil the requirement, he added.
Appointed in July 2012 by President Asif Ali Zardari and regarded as a “consensus chief election commissioner having faith of all political parties after decades,” Justice Ebrahim is for the first time facing such a situation where political parties are planning a joint three-day protest against his moves, at least in Karachi.
“Political and religious parties have announced a three-day sit-in from Jan 26 outside the office of the provincial election commission in protest against the absence of army personnel during the process of voters’ verification,” said a statement issued by the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Karachi chapter.
In Wednesday’s protest JI Karachi chief Mohammad Hussain Mahenti, Saleem Zia of the PML-N, Nadir Akmal Leghari of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Umer Sadiq of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, Mehfooz Yar Khan of the Awami Muslim League (AML), Mazhar Rahoja of the Awami Tehreek, Mustaqeem Noorani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) and Matloob Awan of Sunni Tehreek represented their parties with a large number of their workers.
The Jamaat-i-Islami statement said that the parties that attended the Wednesday protest agreed on a three-day sit-in that would start on Jan 26 at 3pm and would continue till the evening. “The parties believe that the chief election commissioner should take decisions in favour of the citizens of Karachi without coming under the pressure of any party,” it added.