ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top election body on Wednesday postponed the second phase of local government elections in the southern Sindh province from July 24 to August 28, citing reports of another spell of heavy monsoon rains in the province from July 24-26.
The second phase of the local government polls was to take place in 16 districts of Sindh’s Karachi and Hyderabad divisions on July 24 whereas a by-election on a vacant National Assembly seat in Karachi was scheduled to take place on July 27.
A strong monsoon current since mid-June triggered heavy rainfall in Karachi, causing urban flooding in various parts of the city. The flooding resulted in the deaths of multiple people through electrocution and drowning.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) issued a press release this week, warning that heavy rains may trigger urban flooding in Sindh’s Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Shaheed Benazirabad, Jamshoro, Mirpurkhas, Dadu, Umer Kot, Jaccobabad, Larkana and Sukkur cities from July 24-26.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday reviewed applications from candidates who sought the second phase of the local body elections to be postponed and held after Muharram as Pakistan’s meteorological department forecast heavy rains for Sindh from Thursday.
“Polling for the second phase of the local body elections will be held on August 28, while the by-election [for the National Assembly seat] NA-245 Karachi East [will take place] on August 21,” the ECP said in a statement.
It added that the provincial election commissioner, in his report, said the recent monsoon rains in Sindh had adversely impacted transportation and also damaged some polling stations. He recommended the elections to be postponed.
“The Election Commission made this decision [to postpone polls] keeping in mind all the facts,” the ECP said.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had also issued a warning regarding heavy monsoon rains in Karachi.
“Keeping in view recent urban flooding-related incidents in Karachi and other metropolizes, the NDMA has instructed relevant departments to restrict vehicle movement across nullahs prone to flash floods, low lying areas and close to water channels,” the NDMA said this week.
According to the NDMA’s latest fact sheet, issued on Thursday, at least 282 persons have died due to several rain-related incidents across Pakistan since mid-June. Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province reported the highest number of fatalities, 88 while 67 deaths were reported from Sindh.