JI warns of prolonged sit-in if demands not met


KARACHI: Emir of the Karachi chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman has issued a seven-day ultimatum for ‘rectification’ of results of the recent local government elections and announcement of polls in the remaining 11 union councils and warned that in case the demands are not met his party will hold a prolonged sit-in in the mega-city.

Speaking at a press conference, the JI leader said that nobody should mistake his party for politicians who “sell out their mandate against official posts and perks”. “We will safeguard our votes and restore our mandate,” he said.

He said that the proposed sit-in will be held in Karachi with effect from Friday, March 10, and will continue till all the issues are addressed in a proper manner. He also directed the party workers to mobilise people for the mass protest.

On the occasion, he shed light in detail on the “ill intentions of the PPP government in Sindh” as shown by the flaws in the process of recounting recently carried out in the Union Council number six in Suffora Town.

Naeem-ur-Rehman said that the bags carrying ballot papers were found to be torn but the returning officer and district returning officer didn’t bother to take notice, even though their attention was drawn to the fact.

Similarly, he said, all the 50 votes cast in the favour of the JI at a polling station were shown as rejected in the recounting as opposed to the forms 11 and 12. He explained that only those votes were shown as rejected in the recounting process which had been cast in the favour of his party.

He maintained that the RO and the DRO didn’t receive applications against the flaws. They also refused to show the record of the remaining ballot papers.

In one instance, he said, a sibling of a PPP candidate in a UC was appointed as the presiding officer. The ECP was responsible to appoint unbiased staffers after thorough examination, he said, adding that the PPP government in Sindh was pressurising government employees to manipulate the electoral process.

The JI will be chasing the PPP until the results are rectified, he declared. The JI rejects the tactics employed by the PPP to deprive it of its mandate.

He added that several presiding officers, who are in touch with the JI, have revealed that they are under pressure and face threats of transfer and termination as some high-ups want to make them accomplices in the post-poll rigging exercise.

The ROs and DROs appointed by the PPP government in Sindh are not trustworthy, he said, and urged the ECP to appoint its own officials for the recounting process.

The JI leader reiterated his demands for the announcement of a schedule for polls in the remaining union councils, bringing an end to the corrupt practices on the pretext of recounting, and decisions on merit on the matters pending before election officials.

He explained that during the last hearing before the ECP, some of the presiding officers expressed their confusion about their own signatures on forms 11 and 12, whereas the sealed copies with the government could not be produced before the commission. Similarly, he maintained, a presiding officer didn’t testify to his “own” signature even without taking a look on the forms 11 and 12 produced by the JI.

In another instance, a presiding officer was taken along by the police contingent and was forced to change forms 11 and 12. Which type of democratic behaviour was this? Is this the democracy on the basis of which the PPP rules over Sindh? “Is this the vision of Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari?” he asked.

Turning to the census process, he demanded of the government to extend the date for online registration for a month. He also highlighted the shortcomings in the process of digital census.

He said that the JI’s demand was very simple and clear, that each and every individual should be counted wherever the person is found. He also demanded of the government to bring transparency in the process and devise a mechanism to cross-check the registration process both on an individual level and the block code level.