ISLAMABAD: Karachi was once again in the spotlight in the Supreme Court on Wednesday – but this time, it was pre-poll rigging under scrutiny rather than the law and order situation.
Almost all political parties, including the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), backed a petition demanding that new voters’ lists in Karachi be revised.
The petition stated that a huge number of voters who had moved from other parts of Pakistan to Karachi were now registered in their original hometowns – even though they still reside in Karachi.
The petition squarely pinned the blame on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and alleged that the party has completely hijacked the city.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, observed that the consequences were serious if three million votes had been dislocated to other districts. It directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to examine the voters’ lists, saying that the complaints were credible and that votes cannot be shifted to other districts without the consent of voters.
PPP General Secretary Jehangir Badar, who told the court that the lists need to be reviewed, also informed the court that he was representing a petition filed by the later former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, regarding bogus voters’ lists. Rana M Shamim, the counsel for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, claimed that MQM workers rather than ECP staff were distributed voter registration forms, and that they were also behind shifting votes to areas outside Karachi although the voters live in Karachi.
“My own vote has been shifted to Punjab without my consent, while my family members’ votes are registered in Karachi,” he said.
Hamid Khan, the counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Imran Khan, told the court that around three million voters have been dislocated in the new voters’ lists. The situation in Karachi was not good, he said, claiming that ECP electoral staff could only approach 10% of the city’s population.
Hamid added that the votes that had been shifted belonged to people who’d been living in Karachi for the last 10 to 15 years and were now registered as voters on their permanent (original) addresses without consent.
The chief justice asked for a short-term solution so that the next general elections could be held on time, and directed the ECP secretary to depute a senior officer of the commission who could explain under what circumstances the votes of three million people have been shifted from Karachi to other districts of the country.
Former law minister Khalid Anwar had also requested earlier that the court direct the ECP to rectify Karachi’s new voter lists. Rasheed A Rizwi, the counsel for Jamaat-e-Islami, also sought the court’s intervention.
The court will take up this matter again today to hear the ECP’s stance on the issue.
The full SC order can be found here.
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Well all that the article says is true. Lets hear the MQM verdict:
The relocated persons in Karachi from other parts of the country primarily interests in voting parties/individuals who do welfare work in their native areas (i.e. the permanent addresses on their CNICs). This trend is independent of whatever time they are staying in Karachi. For example, a guard in our area living in Karachi since 1984 from district Shangla, KPK, is open to his loyalty with ANP because they do welfare work in his native area. So technically their vote in Karachi is not resulting any welfare for the permanent citizens of Karachi. If anyone wants to vote in Karachi then he should change his permanent residence address to this city.
I believe the verdict is strong enough to support their actions.
@Usama Bin Ahmed: You are spot-on bro. If given the liberty to vote at their will, Karachi youth even those living in Gulshan, Johar, Azizabad, North, Malir, Model Town, etc will vote for PTI instead of MQM. MQM has support in areas like Landhi, Liaqatabad, New Karachi, etc where youth are given jobs in local government authorities most of whom are ghost employees and instead work for the party on full time basis. (no offense intended)
Karachi people dont have any choice except voting for MQM. We all are seeing the scenario in present PPP govt. PML N would never gonna play its role in Karachi. Only hope is PTI now and youth is backing it up.. Long live Karachi.. Long live Pakistan!
@ Navaid Altaf Who told you that Urdu speaking families are only in Karachi & Hyderabad? My family is also Urdu speaking but not in Karachi... In fact, Urdu speaking families have been living in almost all major cities of Pakistan including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and even Wah Cantt. The only difference is that in all other cities, people adapted the local culture & traditions and can speak the local language, as fortunately they have never ever been misled by any biased parochial self-serving politician with vested interests. Even Nawaz Sharif's father had migrated from India but they gradually adopted the local culture! Also, there are now more settlers in Karachi from other provinces rather than from India... so-called "mohajirs" should be those who migrated lately, not 3 generations ago!!
No to MQM
@Navaid: I know many Urdu speaking friends from Karachi, who if given a choice will never vote for MQM. They are fed up of MQM and what it has done in their name.
@navaid..brother..i am an urdu speaking and I hate MQM from the core of my heart!
@Navaid: I think its the time when you should wake up and accept the truth. and the truth is MQM's mandate is not real. Hardly 5000 people cast their vote and the winning candidate wins by 60,000 votes. who are you kidding?
More propaganda against MQM. Don't these people realize that urban Sindh, more specifically Karachi is the bastion of Urdu-speaking Mohajirs, and 95% of all Mohajirs vote for MQM no matter what. All this will do is reinforce MQM's domination of urban Sindh.
hehe, even if their votes are relocated to karachi....what matters most is the election day when MQM extortionists capture polling stations
At last !
Finally a SC that listens to Karachi's woes. I hope Karachi's voters lists get rectified and every political party gets a fair chance in elections. I always believed that if a free and fair election is held in Karachi, the results will be completely different.