Saturday July 20, 2024

MQM-P looking to retain NA-240 in by-election today

TLP has fielded Shahzada Shahbaz for the by-poll while PTI has boycotted the election

By Zia Ur Rehman
June 16, 2022
The MQM-P has fielded the party’s coordination committee member, Muhammad Abu Bakar. Picture Talha Shakeel
The MQM-P has fielded the party’s coordination committee member, Muhammad Abu Bakar. Picture Talha Shakeel

The stage is set for the by-poll in NA-240, a constituency comprising areas of Landhi in District Korangi, today (Thursday) on the seat that fell vacant after the death of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan on April 19.

Polling will be held from 8am to 5pm without any break. If past performance and the ethnic composition of a constituency are valid yardsticks to go by, the MQM-P is likely to retain the NA-240 by-election. However, it is hard to predict anything with certainty considering the current state of politics in Karachi.

The MQM-P has fielded the party’s coordination committee member, Muhammad Abu Bakar, as its candidate and managed to muster support from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has fielded Shahzada Shahbaz, alias Shahzada Kashif, for the by-poll.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which currently has most MNAs from Karachi, has boycotted the by-poll, and the Jamaat-e-Islami, which has been running campaign for the rights of Karachi, is also not taking part in the election.

The MQM-Haqiqi has fielded Rafiuddin Faisal and Pakistan Peoples Party has fielded Nasir Lodhi. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has announced support for the PPP candidate.

On the ticket of Pak Sarzameen Party, Shabbir Qaimkhani is in the fray. The constituency comprises 529,855 voters, including 294,385 male and 235,470 female voters. Of the 309 polling stations, 203 polling stations have been declared ‘highly sensitive’ in the constituency by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), while the remaining 106 polling stations have been declared ‘sensitive’.

According to a statement issued by the ECP, the ballot papers had been printed and CCTV cameras were being installed at the sensitive polling stations. Police would be deployed at every polling station while the Rangers personnel would serve as a ‘quick response force’.

“The polling material is being distributed among the staff and the staff and the material will be sent to the polling stations by evening [Wednesday evening],” the commission said. The ECP will establish a control room in Islamabad to review all arrangements for the polling process.

Past elections

The MQM-P’s Khan had won the NA-240 seat in the 2018 general elections by securing 61,165 votes, defeating the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) Muhammad Asif, who had bagged 30,535 votes, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Farrukh Manzoor, who had received 29,939 votes.

The Jamaat-e-Islami’s Abdul Jamil Khan, who had contested the polls under the banner of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, had secured over 19,000 votes, while Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) chief Afaq Ahmed had bagged over 14,000 votes, and the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Mohammad Feroze had received over 7,000 votes. The Pak Sarzameen Party had secured 6,661 votes.