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JI open to consensus on next city govt but mayor will be ours: Naeem

By Our Correspondent
January 18, 2023

Karachi Jamaat-e-Islami chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said on Tuesday his party wanted a consensus decision on the mayor’s slot and next city government, but talks would be held with potential allies, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, after his party’s complaints about rigging in the local government elections had been addressed and all results notified by the election commission.

Speaking on Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath’, he said the people of Karachi wanted resolution of their problems and his party would therefore want a consensus decision on the mayor’s slot.

Rehman said the mayor would definitely belong to the JI as the number of his party’s seat were increasing, with two seats which had earlier been given to the PPP and the PTI now being given to the Jamaat after corrections in the results by the election commission. He said the PTI had offered unconditional support to the JI, and the two parties could form a coalition city government.

He added that JI wanted complaints about seven more seats be decided, after which it would emerge as the largest party of Karachi. He maintained that the corrections in the results justified his party’s demand that all controversial results be looked into and actual winners announced.

Rehman said his party was protesting not only in Karachi but across the country over the rigging in the LG polls. He said a protest was still going on outside the office of the district returning officer of District West.

Answering a question, PPP leader and Sindh labour minister Saeed Ghani said his party was ready to work with the JI for the sake of Karachi. He said his own party had won a Chensar Goth seat after the result in the UC was corrected. He said that a result, PPP candidate (Chaudhry Hamid) had won the chairman’s seat, where earlier the JI candidate had been declared a winner. However, he made it clear that the results were yet to be notified by the election commission.

To a query, Ghani said talks about a possible coalition city government could not be conducted through the media. He said the JI and the PPP should sit together for the purpose. Answering a question how the JI’s grievances about rigging could be redressed, he said the legal way of approaching the election commission was the way forward, and both the Jamaat and the PPP were following that course of action. He advised the JI to continue doing so instead of taking to the street.

More seats for JI

The spokesman for the JI earlier announced that the election commission had corrected the results of two union committees (UCs), after which the party’s seats had increased from 86 to 88.

He said Hasher Umar of the JI had been declared the winner in West Orangi UC-6, where a candidate from the PIT had previously been declared the winner. Additionally, Habib-ur-Rehman of the Jamaat-e-Islami had been declared the winner in UC Abbas Town Saforah, where a candidate from the PPP had previously been declared the winner.

Meanwhile, JI Karachi emir Hafiz Naeemur Rahman briefed the central leadership of his party about the results of the LG polls and performance of the party. He said the JI had evidence of the election rigging in at least nine UCs, and if the rigging had not been done in those areas, the JI would have emerged as the single largest party in Karachi on Sunday.

JI Information Secretary Qaisar Sharif, while talking to The News, said the PPP to accept the reality and give back the JI mandate if it was serious about moving ahead. The JI believed in dialogue, and hoped the PPP would accept the real mandate of the people of Karachi. “The JI will initiate talks with any party until the correction of the results.”

He added that the party would contact all political parties and welcomed the unconditional support of the PTI. The JI would bring its mayor as the difference between the JI and PPP was of only five seats.

JI’s success surprising

A day after ruling out the possibility of negotiating with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for the Karachi mayor post, Sindh Labour and Human Resources Minister Saeed Ghani has suggested that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Jamaat-e-Islami work together in the best interest of the city.

Ghani, who is also the PPP Karachi president, made the suggestion while addressing a press conference at the provincial assembly on Tuesday, a day after his party emerged as the winner of the most seats in the local government elections in the city, with the JI as the runner-up.

Ghani had admitted a day earlier that no political party alone could elect its candidate as the next city mayor because of the divided mandate that had emerged as the result of the LG polls.

Addressing the latest press conference, he said that those who had been expressing surprise at the PPP’s victory in the LG elections were most probably oblivious to the fact that five sitting MNAs and seven MPAs of the party were from Karachi.

He said that only one MPA in Karachi belonged to the JI, and he had in fact won under the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal alliance. “It’s not the PPP’s victory but the JI’s success in the Karachi polls that’s surprising.”

He also said that it was utterly wrong to assume that the PPP represented only rural Sindh, adding that the party was a representative of Pakistan’s federation. He advised the JI to formally challenge the election results in whichever constituency it had reservations about the poll’s outcome, saying that the PPP had also filed numerous applications for recounting the votes.

He recalled that the PPP had secured electoral victories from Karachi in the 2018 general elections “despite the fact that the polls had been brazenly rigged”.

Ghani said that though the JI had resorted to protesting outside the offices of the election officials in Karachi’s District Central, it had secured 39 of the 42 seats in the district. In District Korangi also, the PPP won only four seats while the JI bagged 19 seats, he pointed out.

He told the media that the maximum delay in the announcement of the election results had occurred in the case of Landhi Town, and the JI had won all the nine seats there. He said the PPP had emerged victorious in the areas of the Malir, South and Keamari districts, which were also traditionally the strongholds of the party.

“While the people are amazed at the PPP’s victory in Lyari and District West, there’s no surprise at the JI’s victories in the Central, East and Korangi districts.” He mentioned that the JI had “surprisingly” bagged 79 seats from just three districts of Karachi, while the PPP had secured 94 seats from the entire city. He said the PPP had secured overwhelming victories from Karachi in the past elections since 1977.

He said the people of Karachi had given the mandate both to the PPP and the JI, so both parties should honour each other’s mandate. “We’re ready to hold talks and find a way forward.” Replying to a question, he told the media that the maximum number of seats the PPP had won from any district in the latest polls was 25, and that had happened in District Keamari. Responding to another query, he said that any political party securing victories in the LG polls could make efforts to grab the post of Karachi mayor, and the JI is one such successful party.