Pakistan: Violence rocks Karachi after controversy erupts over local body polls

Karachi: Intense violence raged across several parts of Karachi as a row erupted over local body elections in Pakistan’s largest city.

According to a report by The Dawn, protests and clashes took place across Karachi on Wednesday night as political parties protested the recounting of votes cast in the recently held local body elections.

Holding the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) accountable for the delay in election results, several political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) expressed concerns over alleged mismanagement in the counting process.

The second phase of polls to local government bodies was held in 16 districts of Sindh on Sunday.

The ECP took more than 36 hours to announce the results of Karachi’s 236 union committees, as the opposition PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) accused the provincial government of “rigging and managing things” in its favour. However, because the electoral commission has yet to finalise the results, the contesting parties are unsure about their mandate, Dawn reported.

JI employees demonstrated on University Road outside Federal Urdu University on Wednesday, as several workers set fire to tyres and blocked the main artery, causing traffic jams, and claimed that the results of Gulshan Town’s UC-1 and two other union councils in Safoora won by the party’s candidates were being changed by the recounting process.

The seat was won by a JI candidate and the Islamist party claimed that the recount was based on “malafide intentions”.

Similarly, PPP and JI workers also clashed outside the Malir deputy commissioner’s (DC) office over the recounting of votes in a UC in Gulshan-i-Hadeed.

The seat was won by a JI candidate and the party claimed that the recount was based on “malafide intentions”.

On Saturday, the Sindh government had again requested the Election Commission of Pakistan to delay the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad citing “threats to various political leaders and workers of political parties.”

The request from the Sindh government comes after the provincial government on Friday announced that the local body elections would not be held and the notification to hold the elections based on the existing delimitation had also been withdrawn on the demand of their “coalition partner”, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

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