Citing severe “security threats”, the intelligence agencies on Friday recommended the Elections Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to postpone the second phase of local body elections scheduled to be held in Sindh on Sunday (Jan 15), according to a private TV channel. The development came hours after the ECP decided to hold local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad as per the schedule, rejecting the Sindh government’s request to postpone the elections. A meeting of the institutions “responsible for national security” was held in Karachi, which expressed “severe concerns” over the recent LG polls in Sindh, the TV channel reported. The officials of the national security institutions conveyed the meeting’s concerns to the ECP and briefed the election organising body on the security threats. The huddle also discussed the 17 security threats received during the past one-and-half months in the province, the TV channel reported. Strong networks of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) exist in the province, the meeting was told. Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that the provincial government had decided to delay the polls due to concerns of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P). The Karachi-based party has stressed that the local body elections in Karachi and Hyderabad could not be held until a new delimitation, but at the same time, it did not rule out its participation. “If despite our concerns, the elections do take place, then we will not boycott them. However, we will not accept the results of the elections,” MQM-P spokesperson told a private TV channel. The old guard of the MQM – Mustafa Kamal and Farooq Sattar – have merged their factions under Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui’s leadership, with Sattar saying that it was a “rebranded MQM-P”.