PPP seeks ‘replacement’ of REC Hyderabad

Ali Abdullah Jan is also the district returning officer for August 28 local govt polls

Z Ali August 02, 2022
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) staff carry material for use in polls. photo: jalal qureshi/express


The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is reportedly seeking replacement of the Regional Election Commissioner (REC) of Hyderabad, Ali Abdullah Jan, because he is allegedly not fulfilling demands of the party with regard to certain polling stations. The PPP, however, has denied this report.

Jan is also the district returning officer (DRO) for August 28 local government elections of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC). "The local leaders of the PPP approached the REC to change the polling stations particularly in city taluka of Hyderabad but he refused," an official of Election Commission of Pakistan, who requested anonymity, told The Express Tribune. "It is likely that the transfer order [of Jan] will be issued this week."

The official said although there has been no written communication in the ECP in this regard, Jan has been indirectly conveyed that he will have to pack up. "As per the rules an official of the ECP who also happens to be the DRO can't be removed during the election process and that too without fulfilling the procedure of seeking explanation against complaints from the concerned official."

He claimed that Jan has not been served any explanation notice so far. He took names of two senior officials of the ECP, who also belong to Sindh, for influencing the secretary ECP on behalf of the PPP to get rid of REC Hyderabad.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's MPA Rashid Khilji told The Express Tribune that he is also aware of the issue. "We have taken up this matter with the concerned officials." He said he was hopeful that the REC will continue in Hyderabad. "We won't let any party to do this pre-poll rigging."

The Qaumi Awami Tehreek, which is led by Ayaz Latif Palijo, also opposed any plan to change the REC to please the ruling party in the province.

Advocate Nisar Durrani, the ECP's member from Sindh, said while talking to The Express Tribune that he is unaware that Jan's transfer has been sought or if it is being executed.

The secretary Omar Hameed Khan denied in his brief reply that his office has received any complaint against Jan.

The provincial information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, who is an MPA from Hyderabad, did not respond. The provincial minister Jam Khan Shoro, who also belongs to Hyderabad, told the media that no such complaint has been moved against the REC as per his knowledge.

The PPP has won 15 per cent of the seats of chairman and vice chairman of the HMC unopposed as its candidates from 23 union committees, out of 160 in Hyderabad.

The party now needs at least 58 more seats to get a simple majority to elect its mayor.

The MQM-P, on the other hand, has challenged demarcation of the LG constituencies in Hyderabad in the court. The party maintains that rural areas of Hyderabad have been made a part of the HMC which is supposed to represent only urban Hyderabad.

Two out of four talukas of Hyderabad have historically elected the PPP's candidates in Hyderabad while the two others, which are more densely populated, have been electing the MQM-P's candidates. However, the PPP made inroads in the formerly MQM-P's stronghold in 2018 general elections when its candidate Abdul Jabbar Khan was elected as MPA from Latifabad.

The MQM-P has fielded candidates only on 86 seats of the chairmen and vice chairmen while the PPP has its candidates on 155 seats. The HMC consists of nine town municipal corporations.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2022.


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