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PPP's Sindh govt as always not in the mood to conduct fresh Karachi Local government elections using coronavirus as excuse

W.11

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It is perhaps an apt reflection of the Sindh provincial government’s aptitude that despite the Karachi mayor’s term expiring after a four-year run, the government still has not declared any update for timely elections for the next Local Government (LG) setup. Thus, it seems that as the city goes through one of the most difficult rain seasons, it might not even have a proper LG setup—this is the height of incompetence.

There are several complications which have led to this delay. Sindh Local Government Act (SLGA) 2013 does not specify the date of the election following completion of LG tenure. While Section 34 (1) of the act says the ECP shall conduct elections, sub-section 2 gives the provincial government authority to announce the date of elections in the province, thus inherently setting the path for a legal loophole to delay the elections. While the Sindh government has cited the coronavirus pandemic as a barrier holding up the elections, in reality, there are deep-seated political reasons for which all the parties in the government should be criticised. The main issue is that the delimitation of LG constituencies—a mandatory step for the ECP before holding LG polls, yet has resulted in politics as others accuse the PPP of creating more districts for political reasons.

No matter what the reasons, it is lamentable that no election schedule has been announced yet, while the city is in dire need of administrative guidance. The government has kept the local government setup weak for years—the neglect has led to the municipal services being nearly non-existent. This has led to severe weaknesses in every aspect of Karachi’s administration, leading to broken roads, a severe water crisis, appalling sewerage systems and heaps of garbage around the city.

The recent crises, and the harsh but deserved criticism that the Sindh government received in its aftermath, should wake it up to the reality. If the government wants to improve the infrastructural problems of the city, it needs to empower the local government.
 

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