ISLAMABAD - Seemingly succumbing to Muttahida Qaumi Movement pressure and backtracking from its high sounding resolve on Karachi constituencies’ delimitation as per Supreme Court orders, the election commission has indicated at shelving the contemplated drive amidst ‘personal’ opposition to this initiative by the chief election commissioner.In a hurriedly-called media briefing on Wednesday, Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim told the media that Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has assured him of full cooperation for free and fair polls, which would be held on time.“I personally think that delimitation of constituencies should not be done in Karachi at this point ahead of general elections... I may be wrong but that’s my opinion. Is it such a big problem that can’t be solved? Why make fuss of it? We’ve invited political parties to give their input on this issue but no one came up with any suggestion. The status of constituencies would remain unchanged there,” he said.The CEC had called the press conference to brief the media about his meeting with the COAS but the event looked to have backfired when he ‘spoke his mind’ on the delimitation, prompting a spree of straight queries from the journalists. Sensing the gravity of situation ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan had to intervene to hurriedly wind up the briefing – in the same manner it was called – through last minute verbal requests to the mediamen.Earlier, the army chief met the CEC at the Nadra (National Database Registration Authority) headquarters. Later, Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik said that the COAS and CEC had visited Nadra on his invitation. Gen Kayani also needed to acquire Smart National Identity Card (SNIC) that is under process, he added.When asked whether the ECP’s apparent backtracking from its stance was linked to the pressure from MQM, CEC Fakhruddin said, “We can proceed with delimiting constituencies in Karachi only after receiving suggestions from political parties, (which have) not been received from any party.” Upon being pressed to confirm if the drive was being shelved, the CEC said, “The matter is under consideration and we haven’t taken a final decision.”As the panicked CEC was to respond to another query, Ishtiak Ahmed Khan interrupted to utter a brief statement. “We haven’t received any suggestions from political parties. We will take a final decision after getting their input. Thank you,” he said before fleeing from the scene along with the CEC, to be chased by the media till their disappearance.On September 13, 2011, the SC Karachi registry had ordered the ECP to make arrangements for the delimitation of constituencies in Karachi “to avoid political polarisation and to break the cycle of ethnic strife and turf war”. The SC order, it is evident, did not contain any instructions for consulting political parties on the issue.In stark negation of what the CEC and the secretary said about the ‘final decision’ on delimitation drive, the ECP had announced on a high note, twice this month, to launch preparations for voters’ verification and constituencies’ delimitation in Karachi.  Last Thursday, 12 of the total 13 political parties (except MQM) had strongly supported delimiting Karachi’s  constituencies in a meeting with the ECP, and the commission had given a go-ahead for voters’ verification and delimitation.“Majority is authority. The decision of majority needs to be respected at every cost. When all the political parties strongly support an initiative, the opposition from one party must not be allowed to overrule the will of others... We will make sure the apex court’s decision is implemented,” the CEC had told this scribe then.During Wednesday’s briefing, the CEC informed the media of having been assured by the army chief regarding provision of foolproof security during upcoming elections and military’s full cooperation for their free and fair conduct. To a query on the traditional meddling on part of intelligence agencies into the general elections, the CEC said, “I had very open and cordial discussion with General Kayani about intelligence agencies and all the issues. I spoke my mind and so did he. He has assured me that the elections would be free and fair and the military would comply with all the directions issued by the ECP in this regard. After getting this kind of assurance from a top military man, what else do I have to ask for?”Responding to the reports about delay in the general polls in the wake of Dr Tahirul Qadri’s newly found ‘fixation’ for getting them postponed, the CEC said, “People talk frivolous when they say elections would be postponed. All the departments concerned including security agencies would assist ECP for free and fair polls. Everybody wants elections on time. We’re ready to conduct elections whenever asked. The rest is up to them (rulers).”