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After MQM-P, GDA demands removing Sindh election commissioner

Our Correspondent
Sunday, Dec 03, 2023

In their joint press statement, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leaders Dr Safdar Ali Abbasi and Sardar Abdul Rahim have accused the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of preparing a fraudulent package in favour of the ‘Zardari League’ by announcing constituency changes in Sindh.

They said that if the ‘Zardari League’ is allowed to come to power once again through rigged elections, there would be no justification for holding elections.

If the electoral body and the administration engage in any kind of fraud in the elections, the public will not accept such elections under any circumstances, they added. The GDA leaders cited the example of former MPA Moazzam Abbasi in Larkana as evidence of the ECP’s alleged bias.

They claimed that the vote of Abbasi, his family and other people were transferred from PS-11 to PS-12 in order to prevent him from participating in the elections, resulting in an unjust and illogical substitution in the constituency.

The reason for this, they argued, was Abbasi defeating the Pakistan Peoples Party in the latter’s political stronghold. The new delimitations, they further argued, are a conspiracy that led to the partitioning of the GDA’s strong opposition areas into multiple segments to weaken the alliance in the province.

They asserted that their stance from day one has been that the provincial election commissioner is “serving the interests of the ‘Zardari League’”. They supported the objections raised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and other parties on the matter. The GDA leaders demanded removing the provincial election commissioner.

Speaking at a press briefing a day earlier, MQM-Pakistan Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had said that if the mandate of the people of Karachi is thrown into the trash bin in the upcoming general elections, the people will reject any such policy that has been consistent in the past 15 years.

He had alleged that the caretaker government of Sindh is also playing a biased role, and the role of the Election Commission and the caretaker government is making the upcoming election suspicious.

Siddiqui had further alleged that provincial election commissioner Aijaz Anwar Chohan has become an activist of a political party, and the things that are reaching us regarding the Election Commission’s Sindh chapter are worrisome. He stressed that all the constituencies must be corrected before the elections.

The MQM-P leader said the names of the permanent residents had been removed from the voter lists in the local bodies’ elections, and the worst gerrymandering was done in the union council constituencies. “Isn’t this all happening on ethnic grounds?” he asked and said that attitude of the chief minister is discriminatory against the residents of Urban centres of Sindh.

There is no platform which we could approach and raise our concerns there, he lamented and said the MQM-P approached courts and parliament but we were not heard.

“Today, we feel again that the Election Commission played a biased role and a biased role is being played in delimitations of constituencies. On the contrary, the responsibility of the Election Commission is to conduct transparent elections and the responsibility of the Election Commission is to prevent pre- and post-poll rigging. If all this was done on ethnic grounds, then how will there be a fair and transparent election?” he asked and emphasized that the electoral body must look into concerns raised by the MQM-P.

He said that the MQM-P will approach courts for transparent delimitations before the elections. Speaking on this occasion, MQM-P Senior Deputy Convener Mustafa Kamal said the MQM-P has filed objections to the delimitations of 13 constituencies, but the statement of the provincial election commission creates doubts. The MQM-P believes that Provincial Election Commissioner Sindh Aijaz Anwer Chohan is an active member of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

The PPP rigged the national census in rural areas of Sindh, and now, the same plan is going to be implemented in the election commission. Chohan has accepted all objections to the delimitations of constituencies raised by the PPP but declined the objections raised by the MQM-P, he alleged.

He said that as long as Chohan is in office, the elections will not be fair and transparent. “The so-called people want us not to participate in the elections, but we will not boycott the elections in any case. We will not give up. Pakistan has been destroyed and ruined. All institutions including the economy have been destroyed. Pakistan cannot run without us.”