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July 24, 2018

Imran Khan seeks election win over jailed ex-PM´s party

ISLAMABAD: Cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan is hoping to become Pakistan’s prime m...

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Karachi: Electoral battle in a ‘new territory’

National

July 24, 2018

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Residents walk along a street decorated with flags of political parties, ahead of general elections in the Lyari neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan July 9, 2018. -REUTERS

KARACHI: Owing to the current delimitations carried out in the light of preliminary results of last year census, a peaceful security situation after the Rangers-led operation and the internal crisis of the Mutahida Qaumi Movement, the July 25 general polls in Karachi is going to be held in a sort of new territory, where, for the first time at least in the past three decades, it appears the polls would be violence-free and simultaneously pose difficulties for the political pundits to predict its results.

The newly-carved 21 National Assembly and 44 provincial assembly constituencies, on one side, have caused great damage to the already troubled MQM, but on the other side, it provided opportunities to the other political parties to contest, helping other ethnic communities to send their representatives to the parliament.

A look at constituency-wise analysis suggests the MQM-P is still in position to retain its traditional seats in Mohajir-populated areas of Central, Korangi, East and West but will lose the constituencies comprising non-Mohajir areas.

Similarly, the Pakistan People’s Party has emerged as the main beneficiary of the new delimitation that are likely to increase its National Assembly seats from one (in 2013 polls) to six, mainly from the Sindhi and Baloch-populated newly carved constituencies. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz are also trying to win few, at least one, seats from the city just to show their presence in the metropolis. The Awami National Party, the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan and the proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat are also among the aspirants, trying their best to send at least one representative to Islamabad.

In District Malir, the PPP has been trying to win all the three National Assembly seats (addition of one national assembly seat). However, except NA-236 comprising rural areas of Gadap where the PPP has awarded ticket to chief of the Jhokio clan Jam Abdul Karim Bijar, the PPP is facing severe challenge from the rival parties.

In NA-237, a mix of Baloch villages and Mohajir areas of Malir, the MQM-P’s Nadeem Maqbool is posing a challenge to the PPP’s Abdul Hakeem Baloch. In NA-238, a constituency having a mix of Sindhi coastal villages and Pashtun neighborhoods, the proscribed ASWJ chief Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi and ANP Sindh chief Shahi Syed are set to challenge the PPP’s candidate Agha Rafiullah, who is unpopular among the Pashtun community because of his relations with controversial police officer Rao Anwar.

In District Korangi’s three constituencies (NA-239 to NA-241), where mainly the Mohajir-populated areas are concentrated, the MQM-P has bright chances to win, despite the presence of Pak Sarzameen Party and the MQM-Haqiqi, but the TLP is likely to spoil some of its votes in the areas.

District East’s four National Assembly constituencies (NA-242 to NA-245) have also Mohajir-populated areas where the MQM-P is trying to retain its traditional seat. In NA-242, a Mohajir concentrated areas of Abbas Town and Gulzar Hijri with Pashtun areas of Sohrab Goth and Super Highway and the Sindhi populated areas of Sachal, the MQM’s Kishwer Zehra is facing PTI’s Saifur Rehman Mehsud, PPP’s Iqbal Sand and the MMA’s Asadullah Bhutto.

In neighbouring NA-243, there is neck-and-neck fight between PTI chief Imran Khan and the MQM-P Syed Ali Raza Abidi, while, MQM-P’s Rauf Siddiqi is facing PTI’s Ali Zaidi and the PML-N’s Miftah Ismail in NA-244. In NA-245, there is tough contest between MQM-P’s Dr Farooq Sattar and the PTI’s Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain.

In District South, one national assembly seat (traditional constituency of MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar) has been removed in current delimitation. In NA-246, a constituency comprising Lyari and Old City area, the PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is in a stronger position to win, although party’s candidates are fighting for two provincial assembly seats are in trouble). But there is uncertain situation in NA-247, a constituency comprising DHA and Clifton, Saddar, Burns Road, Aram Bagh, Kalapul, Hijrat Colony and City Railway Colony. The MQM-P’s Dr Farooq Sattar, PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi, PML-N’s Afnanullah Khan, PPP’s Abdul Aziz Memon, MMA’s Muhammad Hussain Mehanti and TLP’s Allama Zaman Jaffery and independent candidate Jibran Nasir are key contesters.

The five national assembly constituencies of District West five ( NA-248 to NA-252) are likely to witness interesting competition. In NA-248 (comprising Keamari, Maripur and islands), there is competition between PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel and PTI’s Sardar Abdul Aziz. In NA-249 (comprising Baldia Town), the non-Mohajir votes are split among the PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif, PTI’s Faisal Vawda and the other parties who may help the MQM-P’s Aslam Shah.

In NA-250, (SITE, Old Golimar and Qasba Colony), ANP Sindh chief Shahi Syed, MMA’s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman and MQM-P’s Fayyaz Kaimkhani are the main contesters. In NA-251, a Mohajir majority constituency, the MQM’s spokesperson Syed Aminul Haque is in a strong position to win. In NA-252 (comprising Sujrani Town, Gulshan-e-Maymar and Sindhi villages of Manghopir) MQM-P’s Abdul Qadir Khanzada is face off against PPP’s Abdul Khaliq Mirza.

The MQM-P is in a strong position to win from District Central’s four constituencies (NA-253 to NA-256) that comprise the Mohajir-populated areas. However, the PSP and TLP may become a spoiler of the MQM’s votes. The MQM-P’s Usama Qadri, former Town Nazim Liaquatabad, is pitted against the PSP chief Mustafa Kamal in NA-253.

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