KARACHI: Apart from the three former coalition partners in Sindh, all political parties reached a consensus on Monday for re-elections under the army’s supervision in Karachi.
A consultative meeting of all political parties was called at Avari Towers by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for post-election analysis and the city’s law and order situation. The meeting was chaired by PTI vice-president Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi. The party’s provincial president Nadir Akmal Khan Leghari told The Express Tribune that his party had sent ‘across-the-board invitations’ but the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party representatives preferred to stay away.
Though Pakistan Peoples Party’s provincial general secretary, Taj Haider, became part of the meeting, he refused to become a party to the joint-resolution despite efforts to win him over by the PTI leadership. Haider told The Express Tribune that his party did not agree with certain points included in the resolution.
“By asking for re-elections under army supervision, these political parties are attempting to rollback the election process,” he said. “Such a demand will ultimately bring the army back to reign over, like it did in 1997 scenario.”
The resolution, demanding re-elections under army supervision, was, however, approved by around 15 political parties, including the PTI, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, Sindh United Party and others.
In the resolution, the representatives of the political parties also unanimously demanded for legal and disciplinary action against all those responsible for discrepancies in the electoral process. Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was asked to take a suo motu notice of extensive rigging across the country, especially in Karachi.
“Karachi’s case is different because the people’s right to vote was sabotaged in a systematic and organised manner,” complained Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Nihal Hashmi. “The provincial election commission and the caretaker government played a shameful role despite incessant warnings on what might happen in the absence of security.”
They also asked the election commission to increase the number of election appellate tribunals and appoint in-service judges at the tribunals in place of the currently appointed retired judges. Dr Arif Alvi, the PTI’s newly-elected member of national assembly from NA-250, said, “Karachi cannot afford to remain in the hands of terrorists for even the next few years.”
Pakistan Sunni Tehreek’s Matloob Awan said that, “For Karachi’s future, both the PPP and the PML-N are advised to not join hands with the ‘blackmailing forces’ for another five years.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2013