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Thursday April 18, 2024

Will PTI score hat-trick in NA-241-III South?

By Jamal Khurshid
February 07, 2024

National Assembly constituency NA-241 South III is considered as one of the biggest constituencies in the city which stretches from DHA Phase VIII to Burnes Road covering all DHA phases, Clifton, Old Clifton blocks, Saddar, Arambagh, some areas of Lines Area, and parts of Shireen Jinnah Colony.

PTI activists wave party flags in a rally. — AFP/File
PTI activists wave party flags in a rally. — AFP/File

The constituency, which was previously NA-247 South-II, had been won by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s founding leader and presently President Dr Arif Alvi with an overwhelming majority of 90,907 votes in the 2018 elections consecutively second time in a row. After Dr Alvi vacated the seat, it was retained by the PTI as its candidate Aftab Hussain Siddiqui won the subsequent by-election with 32,456 votes.

Previously, Dr Alvi had snatched the seat from Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the 2013 general elections when it was NA-250 amid some violence incidents in the constituency. This time the PTI has been deprived of its election symbol of “bat” for not conducting intra-party elections.

The PTI has fielded now its stalwart Khurrum Sher Zaman, a former MPA who had won the provincial assembly constituency twice in a row, as its candidate to retain the seat for the party which has been facing a tough time in the post-May 9 scenario along with a series of convictions of the PTI founder in the cipher, Toshakhana and illegal marriage cases just a week before the February 8 general elections.

The constituency has main posh localities of DHA and Clifton, Bath Island, Civil Lines, Askari I and II on the one hand. while some thickly populated areas of middle-class and working class of Punjab Colony, Hijrat Colony, Neelum Colony, Railways Colony, Bazarta Lane, Burnes Road, Arambagh, Dehli Colony, T&T Colony and Shirin Jinnah Colony.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Tehreek-Labbaik Pakistan, Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) are the other main contenders in the race to claim NA-241 from the PTI, which significantly gained its vote bank here in the last 10 years from 77,659 votes in the 2013 elections and over 90,000 votes in the 2018 polls.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan candidate Syed Zaman Ali Jafri had obtained 24,722 votes, MQM-P’s Farooq Sattar got 24,323 votes, and JI- backed Mohammad Hussain Mehanti got 23,020 votes in the 2018 general elections. PPP’s Abdul Aziz Memon polled 19,579 votes and PML-N’s Afnan Ullah Khan had secured 18,158 votes.

The vote bank of the MQM-P reduced from 30,365 votes in 2013 to 24,323 in 2018 when the party had entered the arena after the August 22, 2016’s anti-state speech of its founder Altaf Hussain.

The MQM, however, had a history to win the constituency two times in a row in 1988 and 1990 elections. It candidate Syed Tariq Mehmood got 40,000 votes and Khushbakth Shujaat polled 52,045 votes in 2008 elections. PML-N candidate Captain (retd) Haleem Siddiqui had also won the constituency in 1993 and 1997 elections with 31,414 and 33,840 votes respectively.

The JI had also a history in constituency as way back 1977 when it’s then emir Syed Munawar Hasan won the seat from the platform of the PNA; besides, JI-backed candidate and former Karachi mayor Abdul Sattar Afghani was also declared the winner from this constituency from the platform of the religious parties’ alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in the 2002 elections after polling 21,462 votes.

This time, the MQM-P has fielded Dr Farooq Sattar, a former mayor of Karachi and a veteran leader of the MQM.

The JI candidate is Naveed Ali Baig, who is also head of the JI charity organization Al-Khidmat. The PPPP has fielded businessman Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, the TLP has nominated Mohammad Waseem, the PML-N has given its ticket to Rozina, and the Aam Log Ittehad has nominated Sadeed Anwar Malik.

A total of 24 independent candidates are also in the fray, including the PTI-backed Khurrum Sher Zaman and social media activist Jibran Nasir.

The total population of the constituency is 761,882 with 462,512 registered voters, including 243,868 men and 218,644 women.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has set up 234 polling stations in NA-241 for voters to cast their votes. So far, peaceful election campaigns of various political parties and independent candidates have been witnessed in the constituency with no violence.

Two provincial assembly constituencies -- PS-109 and PS-110 -- also fall in NA-241. As many as 34 candidates are contesting the polls from PS-109 South IV, including 25 independent candidates.

The main candidates are Iftikhar Ali Qaimkhani of the MQM-P, Zakar Mehanti of the JI, Abdul Razzak Sangani of the PPPP, Mohammad Ahmed Raza of the TLP, Mehmood Hussain of the PML-N and PTI-backed independent candidate Bilal Hussain Khan Jadoon.

A total of 44 candidates, including 34 independent candidates, are contesting from PS-110 South V. The main candidates are Mohammad Shariq Naseem of the MQM-P, Sufiyan Dilawar of the JI, Syed Najmi Alam of the PPPP, Babar Anwar of the PML-N, Masood Ahmed of the TLP, Batool Fatima of the Grand Democratic Alliance and the PTI-backed independent candidate Rehan Banduka.