Key LG posts: Sindh govt accused of manipulating ballots

MQM attorney cites Article 226 in favour of secret ballot

Our Correspondent April 07, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The counsel representing MQM and other opposition political parties on Wednesday told judges of an apex court bench that he feared that the Sindh government had already started manipulating the results ahead of the upcoming elections for mayors, deputy mayors and other local government representatives in the province.

Furnishing arguments in favour of the Sindh High Court’s February 10 judgment, according to which the local government law was recently amended after which secret balloting was replaced by a show of hands for electing candidates to the posts of mayors, deputy mayors and other local government representatives was declared void.

The counsel submitted before the three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, that the provincial government had started appointing its “favorite officials” in various districts in a bid to manipulate the local government elections via the process of show of hands.

He says that as many as 30 percent of winning candidates were independent and the provincial governments was seeking to get their favour in the upcoming elections, adding that favorite DCOs were being appointed in an effort to use police for manipulating the elections.

He, however, observed that the provincial government “can make transfers and postings with the permission of the ECP”.

During Farogh Nasim’s arguments, Farooq H Naek, the counsel for the Sindh government, approached the rostrum and rejected the allegations regarding manipulation of LG elections.

Farogh Naseem, however, submitted that after the announcement of the election schedule on reserved seats, the amendment could not be introduced to replace secret balloting with a show of hands. He referred to Article 226 of the Constitution which states that all elections could be held by secret ballot.

Babar Awan, the counsel for Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), will argue his case today (Thursday).

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th,  2016.


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