KARACHI - Sindh Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a resolution, demanding delay of at least 90 days in holding the LG polls in the province.

The lawmakers from all political divide in Sindh Assembly delivered speeches in favour of postponement of the local government polls for at least 90 days till March 2014. They gave delaying reasons like completing the process of delimitation, correction of voter lists and other formalities which are the prerequisite for holding elections.

The resolution moved by the MPAs of all the parliamentary parties from treasury and opposition benches - PPP, MQM, PML-N and PTI jointly.

The provincial legislature resolved that holding the local government elections in haste and non-transparent manner will cast doubts on the credibility not only on the process but also on the results. It urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that all essential requirements like magnetic ink and proper voter lists are provided and reasonable canvassing time be allotted for free, fair and transparent LG elections.

The Sindh Assembly opined that the printing of ballot papers as defined by the law can only be carried out by the Printing Press of Pakistan which has shown its inability to print the ballots in the election schedule given. “The printing of ballot papers by any private printing press may not be acceptable as it would make the transparency of election process questionable,” the resolution added.

About two hours’ delay as usual, the urgently called Sindh Assembly session commenced at 11:45 am against the scheduled time of 10:00 am with Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the Chair.

The MPAs while speaking on point of order drew attention towards the schedule of LG polls which issued in haste. However, the Speaker while facilitating the lawmakers advised to table the resolution in this regard.

Later, the Opposition leader from MQM Faisal Sabzwari, PPP’s MPA Nasir Shah, PML-N’s parliamentary leader Irfanullah Marwat, PML-F’s MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi and PTI’s MPA Syed Hafeezuddin moved the resolution jointly which was signed by other lawmakers also.

PPP leader and Senior Education Minister, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro stated after 18th amendment in the constitution, the local government elections are prerogative of the provinces, so no institution can impose date of polls.

Khuhro said when 90 or 60 days are required for campaigning in the general elections, than why not the same period be given to the candidates in the local government polls. He said elections were not possible before March next year.

Opposition leader of MQM Faisal Sabzwari said all the parliamentary forces were unanimous that local government elections should not be conducted in haste. The filing of objections and appeals on delimitations are yet to be completed so sufficient time must be given to hold the polls in transparent manner.

He advised the Sindh government must not be apologetic on the date as it was prerogative of the provincial government to give date for the local government polls. He said the LG elections must not be postponed for indefinite period.

Information and Local Government Minister of Sindh, Sharjeel Memon said the schedule of local government elections, made in haste, was a conspiracy to make the polls controversial.

PML-N’s Irfanullah Marwat also opined that local government polls are not possible before March 2014 as lots of formalities have yet to be completed in this regard.

He said nominations forms were not available for the candidates. The photocopies of the papers downloaded from the website are being sold in Rs500 outside the offices of DROs and ROs in Sindh.

He offered the Sindh government to come forward in approaching the ECP and courts to delay the LG polls as PML-N will stand as a party along with it.

He said only 48 hours for campaigning was a conspiracy to keep the masses away from electing their representatives.

PPP’s Nasir Shah said at least 17 petitions were pending in High Courts and five in the Supreme Court for local government elections since 2009 but none of them were taken for hearing in last five years.

Other MPAs including Dr Sohrab Sarki, Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, Sharmila Farooque, Khursheed Junejo and Mehtab Akbar Rashdi of PML-F, Hafeezuddin of PTI, Khowaja Izharul Hassan, Dr Sagheer Ahmed and others also spoke in favour of resolution to delay the LG polls.

Later, the Chair read out the order of the Sindh governor proroguing the session for indefinite period.