The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday reserved its judgment on the case of repeated postponement of local government elections in Karachi. A five-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja heard LG polls postponement case, saying that the commission will soon announce its reserved decision, a decision that could come into force. Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab said that the first phase of the local polls in Sindh has been completed, “while in Karachi we are ready to hold elections in two phases”. Murtaza Wahab said the Sindh government was unable to hold elections currently. “It is our responsibility to hold elections, you have taken this power from us,” the CEC remarked. “Under which rule you have amended the local government law,” the ECP member Ikramullah Khan asked. “It is not possible to provide security forces and administrative staff for the elections in Karachi. About 1,300 polling stations in Karachi are sensitive, and every station requires eight officials,” said Wahab. Member ECP said what the Sindh government wanted. Murtaza said the provincial government has approved postponement of LG polls for 90 days. He said according to rules, announcing elections was the right of Sindh government and the provincial government will announce holding elections in consultation with the Election Commission. The Sindh chief secretary said due to floods, the deployment of 17,000 security personnel in Karachi was impossible. IG Sindh Police also backed the government’s stance to put off local government elections. “Any untoward incident could happen, we have a shortage of 17,000 personnel,” he said. “We can hold election on the order of the Election Commission, but will face security issues,” IG Sindh said. The ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal said that the LG polls were postponed due to floods in the province. He said the Sindh government has already approved postponement of LG polls for 90 more days. He said the ECP was ready to hold elections in Karachi. Supreme Court has also ordered holding elections in Sindh. Zafar Iqbal said in light of the Supreme Court’s orders local bodies’ elections should be held at the earliest. “Delay in the local bodies polls is a violation of the top court’s order,” the secretary said. The ECP secretary asked the Ministry of Interior about the position of Frontier Corps (FC) and Pakistan Rangers for the provision of security and maintenance of law-and-order situation during the local government polls. The Interior Ministry official said “We are not in a position to fulfil the security needs of the local government elections. The situation does not allow us to deploy civil armed forces at these elections.” Jamaat-e-Islami Amir, Karachi Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, and Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Waseem Akhtar were also present during the hearing. The PTI lawyer Shahab Imam said despite passage of 10 months to Supreme Court’s decision to hold LG polls, the Sindh government don’t want to devolve powers to lower level. He said the Sindh government has sent 6,000 personnel to Islamabad to stop long march, but it was refusing to provide security to elections. To this, the chief election commissioner asked the PTI lawyer: “Did you want the 6,000 police to be sent back to Karachi?” “The Sindh government will probably get the local government elections held in 30 days, chief election commissioner said, adding, “However, what PTI is saying is tantamount to postponing this election indefinitely”. The chief election commissioner said the Election Commission wants to hold polls in Karachi at the earliest, and suggested deploying personnel from Punjab for administering the polls. “If Sindh police officials are deployed in Islamabad to provide security there,” the CEC continued, “how about deploying Punjab police officials in Sindh? Rangers or other law enforcement agencies can be deployed for security; we can ask the Punjab government for security.” Waseem Akhtar said that LG elections have not been held in Sindh for two years. Akhtar said that his party had concerns over the census and that there was a dispute over the delimitation of constituencies. “The party wants that elections should be held in light of the Supreme Court’s decision and after the improvement of constituencies,” Akhtar said. The MQM leader said that the elections had been postponed so many times that some candidates passed away, some changed parties, and some withdrew from the polls. Following the completion of arguments, the ECP reserved the verdict. However, the date of the decision’s announcement is not known yet.