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Karachi

July 21, 2018

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New delimitations bring new challengers for MQM-Pakistan in NA-251

With a population of 766,724, NA-251 is the second least populated constituency in the largest District West of Karachi. It comprises parts of Orangi Town and Mominabad that previously fell within three old constituencies, NA-240 through NA-242.

Though the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has traditionally been winning from these areas since 1988, with the exception of 1993 and 2002, the new delimitation and a change in the political scene make it difficult for the party to maintain its sway.

A total of 13 candidates are contesting from here. Syed Aminul Haque of MQM-Pakistan, Fahad Shafiq of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Nehal Malick of Pak Sarzameen Party, Jamil Zia of Pakistan Peoples Party, Laeeq Khan of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and Mohammad Aslam of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf are among the prominent ones.

Forty-seven per cent of the total population of the constituency (356,336) is registered as voters. Of these 203,836 are male and 152,500 are female. A total of 284 polling stations have been notified with 89 for men, 58 for women and 137 combined.

Three provincial assembly constituencies, PS-117, PS-118 and a part of PS-120, fall within this NA seat. On PS-117 and PS-118, a total of 45 candidates are contesting.

After Mohajirs, Biharis, Sindhis, Balochis and Pathans make up a considerable part of the constituency’s population. The areas that fall within its limits can also be described as among the most neglected ones in the city, struggling with persistent power and water crisis. Most of the constituents hail from low-income backgrounds.

The hopefuls

Talking about his prospects, PML-N candidate Shafiq said he has been running an NGO, Safai.com, for the past two years in the constituency focusing on redressing civic issues. The party awarded him a ticket to contest based on his popularity and social work.

This is Shafiq’s first election and he only recently joined the PML-N in mid-September. Apart from the NA seat, he is also contesting PS-117. Although his party doesn’t have a considerable vote bank in the constituency – an assumption based on previous elections’ results, he is hopeful of winning. “I am contesting to win, not just to become famous.”

PTI emerged as the second-largest political party in the 2013 general elections in terms of votes received. Its candidate Aslam for NA-251 said they will win again this time. He said voters had become more conscious of their rights and won’t be “cheated again by the PPP and MQM”.

“These parties have been enjoying power in the province for almost 30 years, but have failed to deliver to the public,” he said. “They could provide at least the basic necessities, but they did not because they forget about the voters after election and remember them again only when they need votes.”

PSP’s candidate Malick, whose party is contesting for the first time and is seen as a spoiler of MQM’s vote bank, said that other parties have no sense how to even lead their election campaign in the area. “Our party is the only political force that has conducted more than 50 corner meetings,” he said.

According to Malick, people were now tired of MQM because they have also witnessed violence due to its “dirty politics” in the city, particularly in Orangi Town. “The people of the area are well aware of MQM’s violent politics in the past,” he said, adding that because of this factor, they won’t vote for the party again.

MMA’s candidate Khan, who won from here in 2002, said that the constituency had around 30 per cent of Pashtun population which he intended to bank on. “MMA is liked by the constituents for its issue-based politics,” he said. “We have campaigned not only for civic issues, but also for residents’ CNICs issuance problems.” He added the MMA also had the support of Biharis and Urdu-speaking communities.

PPPP candidate Zia, who was issued a show-cause notice by his party over his alliance with the outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, which is contesting polls from the platform of Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party, said that despite winning the seat again and again, MQM did nothing for the constituents. He said the PPPP had a vision to transform Karachi into a metropolitan city and people have witnessed the work themselves in recent years.

MQM-P candidate Haque was contacted multiple times but he did not respond.

PS-117

CANDIDATE PARTY

Sadaqat Hussain MQM-P

Muhammad Adil Khan PSP

Waseem Akhtar PPPP

Fahad Shafiq pml-n

Shakeel Ahmed PTI

Muhammad Mudasir Hussain Ansari MMA

PS-118

CANDIDATE PARTY

Adeel Shahzad MQM-P

Naseem Khan PSP

Shahida Rehmani PPPP

Abdul Kabir ANP

Malik Muhammad Arif Awan PTI

Amanullah Khan pml-n

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