Pakistan: Karachi is rocked by violence after controversy erupts over local polls

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Protests and clashes took place across Karachi on Wednesday evening as political parties protested against the recounting of votes cast in the recently held local elections. Image Courtesy UKTN

Karachi: Violence raged in several parts of Karachi as an argument broke out over local elections in Pakistan’s largest city.

Protests and clashes took place across Karachi on Wednesday night as political parties protested against the recount of votes cast in the recently held local elections, according to a report by The Dawn.

Holding the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) responsible for the delay in the election results, several political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), have raised concerns about alleged mismanagement in the counting process.

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The second phase of local government agency polls was conducted in 16 districts of Sindh on Sunday.

The ECP took more than 36 hours to announce the results of Karachi’s 236 union committees as the opposition PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) accused the provincial government of “manipulating and managing things” in its favor . However, as the Election Commission has yet to finalize the results, the warring factions are uncertain about their mandate, Dawn reported.

JI workers demonstrated on University Road outside Federal Urdu University on Wednesday as several workers set fire to tires and blocked the main artery, causing traffic jams, claiming that the results of Gulshan Town’s UC-1 and two other union councils in Safoora had been won were changed by the party’s candidates through the recount process.

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The seat was won by a JI candidate and the Islamist party claimed the recount was based on “mala fide intentions”.

Similarly, PPP and JI workers also clashed outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Malir over the recount of votes in a UC in Gulshan-i-Hadeed.

The seat was won by a JI candidate and the party claimed the recount was based on “mala fide intent”.

On Saturday, the Sindh government had again requested the Pakistan Election Commission to postpone local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad, citing “threats to various political leaders and workers from political parties”.

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The request from the Sindh government comes after the provincial government announced on Friday that the local elections would not be held and the notice to hold the elections based on the existing demarcation was also withdrawn at the request of their “coalition partner”, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

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