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October 14, 2018

Can PTI reclaim NA-243 today?


October 14, 2018

Following the July 25 general elections, Karachi, like other parts of the country, is all set for the first by-polls on Sunday (today). The city shall witness the race for the National Assembly constituency NA-243 (East-II) and provincial assembly seat PS-87 (Malir-I).

The main contest for NA-243 is to be expected between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P). The two parties are coalition partners in the federal government.

The PTI has fielded the FixIt-famed social activist Alamgir Khan, while the MQM-P’s candidate is Amir Waliuddin Chishti, a businessman associated with the health sector.

Twenty more candidates are running for the NA seat. They include heavyweights like Syed Asif Hasnain of the Pak Sarzameen Party, Syed Nawazul Huda of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and Hakim Ali Jaskani of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

The constituency has a population of 695,588 and 58 per cent of them are registered voters, including 211,510 men and 191,221 women. In the general elections the turnout here was recorded at 41.14 per cent, and most of the constituents elected PTI Chairman Imran Khan as their representative.

But the seat fell vacant after Khan chose to keep his hometown seat of NA-95 (Mianwali-I), among the five he had won across the country, to become the prime minister.

Though the previous result suggests that the constituency has become a stronghold of the PTI, which claimed it with a huge margin over the opponents, it is debatable if the party can reclaim the seat because the federal government’s performance has disappointed the locals.

Bilal Ahmed of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Block-13, which is a centre of attraction for the electoral campaigns by the contesting parties, said he voted for the first time this July and would vote again on Sunday.

“But I am having second thoughts if I should cast my vote in favour of the same party, because I am disappointed by the way it has handled things.”

Similarly, Anum Khan of Block-5 said she was happy to see a change coming, but it turned out to be nothing more than the status quo.

“Since I became politically aware, I have seen the MQM winning the polls by hook or by crook. This time, however, I witnessed a paradigm shift in the political scene, which I believe was necessary but, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem so promising.”

Nevertheless, there are some who want to stay with their respective parties. Muhammad Abbas, who lives near Moti Mahal, is one of them. He said change does not happen overnight.

“We need to give the government some time. The mess of decades cannot be cleaned within days. They have come for the good, and I believe they will do their job.”

There are a total of 216 polling stations notified in the constituency. The voters can check their respective polling stations by using the Election Commission of Pakistan’s 8300 SMS service.

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