The polling process for the by-elections in nine constituencies across Karachi started on Sunday, reported Express News.
The polling centres are open from 8 am to 5 pm today.
The by-elections are set to fill nine seats including chairman, vice chairman, and ceneral member positions in Karachi. All 121 polling stations in the city have been declared “sensitive” or “highly sensitive.”
A total of 54 candidates from various parties including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are vying for these nine seats. Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab and Deputy Mayor Salman Abdullah Murad are among the contenders.
The by-polls constituencies boast a registered voter count of 206,686 individuals, comprising 112,271 male and 94,415 female voters.
The polling will take place for one seat each in district central, district Keamari, and district east of Karachi; three each in district Malir and south district of Karachi; one each in Kashmore, Shikarpur, Ghotki, and Sukkur; four in Khairpur, one each in Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Tando Allah Yar, and Jamshoro.
Read CEC under fire for ‘polls delay’
The elections will take place for the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Union Council (UC) 7 in Gadap Town of Malir District, along with the General Member positions of UC 1 in Ward 4 of Gadap Town and UC 2 in Ward 3. Furthermore, the General Member of UC 6 in Jinnah Town of Sharqi District will be elected.
In a similar vein, by-elections are slated for the Chairman of UC 3 in Maripur Town of Kemari District, General Member of UC 5 in Ward 3 of Nazimabad Town in Central District, and the Vice Chairman of UC 6 in Saddar Town of South District. Lastly, the Vice Chairman of UC 12 and Chairman of UC 13 in Sadar Town will also be elected.
Wahab had initially submitted nomination papers for chairman positions in three union committees. Notably, he has been elected unopposed for the chairman’s post in UC7 of Hydari Town.
However, the Karachi mayor withdrew nomination papers from UC 3 of Maripur Town and is currently contesting for the Chairman position in UC 13 of Sadar Town. Murad, on the other hand, is in the race for the chairman’s position in UC 7 of Gadap Town.
Election material, including ballot boxes, ballot papers, and indelible ink, was delivered by the Returning Officers to the Presiding Officers on Saturday. The material was transported to the polling stations under police protection.
JI against mayor contesting by-polls
Last week, JI filed a petition in the Sindh High Court, seeking to prevent Mayor Wahab from taking part in the by-elections.
In the petition, Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Deputy Ameer Raja Arif Sultan argued that the by-elections should be postponed until the constitutional petition is resolved. This move is based on the principle that the mayor’s participation in the by-elections violates the Election Act’s Code of Conduct. Furthermore, Wahab’s involvement in the by-election is also seen as a breach of the code of conduct outlined in the Local Government Act.
The petitioner reminded that the ECP has framed the code of conduct for Local Government Elections as per Constitutional provisions.
According to the Clause 16(B) of code of conduct issued by ECP, persons holding public office, including mayors, chairmen and their deputies, are prohibited from engaging in any political activities or election campaigns in any constituency.