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Parties differ on demarcation of constituencies
 
 
 



KARACHI  – While the ruling PPP, PML-Nawaz, ANP and Jamaat-e-Islami favour a fresh demarcation of electoral constituencies in Karachi, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement wants such an exercise is carried out throughout the country, despite the fact that the proposed step is Karachi-specific. On November 28, a five-judge Supreme Court bench, while conducting the hearing of the Karachi law and order case, directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to delimit the existing constituencies in Karachi. Carrying out the court order, ECP Secretary Ishtiaque Ahmed held meetings with a number of political groups to lend ear to their reservations as regards the formation of new constituencies in the port city. The secretary, while interacting with the media at ECP’s Sindh office, called the proposed step as revolutionary, and said it would (help) improve the law and order situation in Karachi. Ahmed said he would be meeting with ten political parties while he had already met with representatives from the PPP, PML-N, ANP and JI. “If we fail to meet any party today, we can meet them tomorrow,” the secretary said, and announced that all political parties should submit their advices/suggestions regarding the delimitation of constituencies within a week with the ECP. After their talks with the secretary, MQM's Raza Haroon said his party had sought the court order from the ECP which was not available with it. “In the absence of any written document no discussion could take place.” he pointed out, adding the ECP secretary also agreed to their stance. He, however, demanded that delimitation should be done in entire country. The PML-Nawaz said it had complete confidence in the chief election commissioner and secretary; however the same could not be said about the election commissioner in Sindh. Salim Zia, who headed the PML-N delegation during its meeting with the ECP official, pointed out that if the Rangers, police and administration were rendered helpless on election day, there would be no point in holding elections in Karachi. Zia told the media that his group would submit its recommendations after consultations with other political groups. The PPP assured the ECP of its cooperation for new electoral constituencies in Karachi, saying it endorsed the ruling of the apex court. After the meeting with the ECP official, PPP’s Taj Haider observed that previous delimitations were based on ethnicity. The ANP, while presenting its proposals, extended complete support to the ECP for the formation of new constituencies in Karachi. Talking to the media, ANP leader Bashir Jan said he didn’t know the agenda of the meeting: they received a phone call from the ECP office, directing them to meet the secretary. He expressed satisfaction that his party’s demand to delimit the city’s constituencies had been approved.  Jamaat-e-Islami leader Muhammad Hussain Mehanti said they threw weight behind the directives of the apex court regarding a fresh demarcation.

 
 
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