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Monday March 04, 2024

NA-238 East: MQM-P may reclaim its former bastion after merger of its factions

With a total population of 949,760, it has 561,283 registered voters -- 293,269 men and 268,014 women

February 03, 2024
Supporters of the Pakistani political Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-Pakistan) attend a campaign meeting in Karachi. — AFP/File
Supporters of the Pakistani political Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-Pakistan) attend a campaign meeting in Karachi. — AFP/File

NA-238 is the largest National Assembly constituency of Karachi's District East in terms of registered voters.

With a total population of 949,760, it has 561,283 registered voters -- 293,269 men and 268,014 women.

Gulshan-e-Iqbal's Block 17 and Block 10, Adamjee Nagar, Bahadurabad, Central Jail, Clayton Quarters, Pakistan Quarters, Jahanagir Road, Martin Quarters, Hyderabad Colony, Soldier Bazaar, Punjab Town, Iqbal Colony, Patel Para, Khudadad Colony, Sharafabad, Mujahid Colony, Dalmia, Shanti Nagar, Aziz Bhatti Park, Sindbad, Peer Colony, and PECHS are part of NA-238 (East IV), which used to be NA-245.

The constituency mainly comprises urban settlements, including apartments and bungalows. Residents of these areas belong to the middle- and upper middle-income and working class groups. The constituency has a predominant population of Urdu-speaking people. Other ethnicities include Punjabis, Pashtuns, Baloch, and Sindhis.

As many as 25 candidates are in the run for the NA seat. The prominent among them are incarcerated Sindh PTI president Haleem Adil Sheikh, Sindh Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party president Mahmood Moulvi, Pir Omer Uddin Zafar of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's Sadiq Iftikhar, Saif Uddin of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's Sidra Tel Muntaha, Mohammad Shahid of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, and Muhammad Waseem of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan.

Mahmood Baqi Moulvi, who was associated with the PTI at that time, had won the NA seat by securing 29,522 votes in the August 21, 2022 by-election marred by a low turnout. It had fallen vacant following the demise of televangelist and politician Aamir Liaquat Hussain. MQM-P's Moeed Anwar was the runner-up with 13,239 votes. TLP's Muhammad Ahmed Raza came third with 10,055 votes. Dr Farooq Sattar, who contested as an independent candidate, managed to secure only 3,497 votes.

In the 2018 general elections, Mr Hussain had won the seat by bagging 56,673 votes, Farooq Sattar was the runner-up with 35,429 votes, Muhammad Ahmed Raza came third with 20,737, Saifuddin of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal secured 20,143, PML-N's Khawaja Tariq Nazir 9,682 votes, Farrukh Niaz Tanoli of the PPP 8,823 and Dr Sagheer Ahmed of PSP 6,222 votes.

Before that, MQM's Rasheed Godil had won the 2008 and 2013 elections as the party contested elections as one political entity under its London-based founder Altaf Hussain. Mohammad Hussain Mehanti of the MMA had won the seat in the 2002 general election.

There are thin chances of Mahmood Moulvi's claiming another victory in the constituency on the platform of the new party that took birth from the PTI because the votes he polled in by-election apparently belonged to PTI founder Imran Khan and will likely to go to his party-backed candidate.

A tough contest is expected between MQM-P's Sadiq Iftikhar and Haleem Adil Sheikh as the former looks to reclaim its former bastion with a boost it has received after disgruntled leaders and factions merged with the main party.

Like the previous elections, the TLP is eying significant Barelvi votes in the constituency, which could play a spoiler.