ELECTIONS 2002 (Karachi Division)
MQM riding high across Karachi
By Hasan Mansoor
KARACHI: The MQM remains the party with the greatest electoral hopes in the provincial capital, stretching its lead over the Pakistani People’s Party in spite of the new constituency delimitations, analysts told Daily Times on Tuesday.
The MQM boycotted last year’s local bodies elections to protest the delimitations. The fortunes of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) may have fallen, but it still has a strong position in many areas. Only October 10 will show how far the expectations of the six-party Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, which has mounted a vigorous campaign, will translate into reality, analysts added.
Among the more prominent players in the field are the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam), the MQM’s Haqiqi faction, Sunni Tehrik, the Awami National Party and the Sindh Democratic Alliance, Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf and former president Farooq Leghari’s Millat Party. One colourful candidate is Zia-ul-Haq’s son Ejazul Haq, who in August launched a Muslim League faction named after his father.
Karachi holds a total 20 National Assembly constituencies, and 42 Provincial Assembly seats.
NA-239 Karachi West: This constituency maintains a unique ethnic diversity, with no specific community having a clear edge over the other. Many of the localities inhabited by the Urdu-speaking section have been included in NA-240. Originally, this constituency was a part of NA-184 and there have been some close calls in the past between MQM, PPP and PML-N candidates. In 1990 the contest was decided with a margin of 40 votes in favour of the MQM candidate. The PPP candidate, Syed Masroor Ahsan, who had officially lost the contest, challenged the result in the election tribunal, the proceedings of which continued until the assemblies were dissolved in 1993. The PPP’s Amir Haider Kazmi had won a similar contest in 1988 against an MQM candidate with a margin of a couple of hundred votes. The election tribunal supervised the recounting on the MQM candidate’s request, but the result remained the same. Ejaz Shafi won the 1993 and 1994 elections, first with a narrow margin and later with a better difference against the MQM and the PPP candidates.
Today, native Sindhis and Baloch constitute a similar strength to benefit mainly the PPP. A small number of them have some sympathy towards the PML-N candidate. Interestingly, about 20,000 Bangladeshis have registered on the voters’ lists and they are Shafi’s main strength. Shafi does not agree to call them aliens and insist they were Bengalis who opted to stay here after the Fall of Dhaka.
The contest on Oct. 10 is expected to be tight among Ejaz Shafi, the PPP’s Iftekhar Hussain and the MQM’s Ashiq Hussain Qureshi. PML (Zia) chief Ejazul Haq is also vying for this seat, but with little prospects.
Shafi visibly retains an edge on his rivals for his work among localities inhabited by “aliens” and simple fishermen’s communities.
PS-89 and 90: Previously, these were PS-73 and 74. The first had been a stronghold for the PPP until 1993. In 1997, the PML-N candidate won a surprise victory, by a narrow margin. Recounting remained a live issue with the then election tribunal, but a final verdict was never made.
For the next elections, the PPP awarded the ticket to Akhtar Hussain Jadoon, whose contest with the PML’s Azeem Khan, the MQM’s Nasir Ahmed and the PML-QA’s Mohammad Ayaz Khan is expected to be interesting.
The PS-90 has been won by the MQM previously. Now, after new delimitations, the MQM does not predict certain victory in a constituency that no longer has an Urdu-speaking majority.
The MQM fielded its Sindhi candidate Dr Mohammad Ali Brohi against the PPP’s Nadeem Ahmed Bhutto, the PML-N’s Azeem Khan, the SDA’s Mohammad Younus and the PML-Q’s Sardar Humayun Khan, who had won the previous PS-73 as a PML-N candidate. This seat could go to any party.
NA-240: This is an entirely new constituency carved out from the former NA-184 and NA-185 of the old District West. Like the former NA-184 (now NA-239) this constituency falls in areas inhabited by the people of a variety of ethnicities. A sizable proportion consists of Urdu-speakers, while high numbers of Sindhis, Baloch, Pakhtoons and Punjabis live in each locality.
Advocate Sarkaruddin of the MQM, Makhdoom Shahnawaz of the PML-N and Mohammad Bux Lashari of the PPP are expected to fight a close contest. But MQM candidates’edge again lies in the party’s intact vote bank, analysts said.
PS-91 and PS-92: These seats fall with NA-240 that was a part of NA-185 that had previously been won by the MQM. PS-91 has a mixed population and offers a slight edge to the MQM because of the substantial Urdu-speaking community.
The MQM has fielded Tasnimul Hassan Farooque against Zahoor Ahmed of the PPP, Suleman Khan of the PML-Q, Hafiz Naeem of the MMA and Syeda Afshan Shaukat of the PML-N.
PS-92 is heavily populated by Urdu speakers, which gives the MQM’s Abdus Sattar Ansari an edge over the PPP’s Shabbir Qureshi. Tthe MMA’s Mohammad Hamid Siddiquit still stands a chance of repeating his performance.
NA-241: Formerly NA-185, its majority is Urdu-speaking, and consists mostly of immigrants from former East Pakistan. It has always been an MQM stronghold. However, PPP diehard Afaq Khan Shahid never left the field uncontested.
Shahid, himself a migrant from East Pakistan, won the constituency in 1985’s no-party elections. But since 1988, the MQM’s candidates have prevailed except for in 1993, when the MQM boycotted the election, and Shahid won the seat by default.
The PPP has again awarded the ticket to Shahid against the MQM’s new entrant, Feroz Uddin Rehmani. Abdur Razik Khan, a former MQM politician who was speaker of the Sindh Assembly in the early 1990s, is now the Sindh coordinator of the PML-QA, and is contesting from here as well. Wazirzada Afridi, a new entrant in election politics, is a PML-N candidate. The MQM has a clear edge in this constituency despite some personal influence of Afaq Shahid and Razik Khan. Observers believe the MQM would easily retain this seat.
PS-93 and PS-94: PS-93 is heavily populated with Pakhtoons and most candidates pitted by the political parties belong to this community, including the PPP’s Shirin Khan, the MMA’s Hameedullah, the ANP’s Bashir Jan, the National Alliance’s Aqil Khan, the PML-QA’s Altaf Hussain Shah, the Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Khurshid Kakajee and PTI’s Bashir Ahmed Khan.
PS-94 is another constituency where Urdu speakers have a substantial population. Here the MQM’s candidate, Abdul Quddus, who is a journalist affiliated with an Urdu newspaper, has an edge over Mohammad Ishaq Hijazi of the rival Haqiqi faction, Dr Shahida Rehmani of the PPP, Mohammad Laeeq Khan of the MMA and Wazirzada Afridi of the PML-N.
NA-242: It is yet another new constituency, carved out from Orangi Town, Baldia and the SITE area.
Here too the MQM has an advantage of bulk voters in Orangi and parts of Baldia Town, despite opposition by Mohammad Imran of MQM Haqiqi. There are also a sizable number of Pakhtoon voters in the constituency.
Originally, part of this constituency was included in NA-185 of Orangi Town, where MQM have always had an impressive showing. The Haqiqi candidate has some dominance in pockets, but observers believe this is unlikely to harm the MQM candidate, Abdur Rauf Siddiqui. The PPP’s Dr Shakir Alam and the PML-Q’s Khanzada Imran are considered “outsiders” here.
PS-95, 96 and 97 (partial): PS-95 falls in localities inhabited with different ethnic groups. It mainly covers Qasba Colony, where Pakhtoons live in huge numbers, while Urdu-speaking and Punjabi communities also live. Here a tough contest is expected between the MQM’s Anwar Alam, the PML-Q’s Mohammad Saleem, Sunni Tehrik’s Noor-ul-Huda, Haqiqi’s Syed Shahid Ali and the Nizam-e-Mustafa Party’s Mohammad Jan Alam Shah.
PS-96 also has ethnic diversity, although the majority is Urdu-speaking, which gives the MQM candidate Iqbal Qadri a slight edge. The SDA’s Abdul Wadood, the PPP’s Jamil-ur-Rehman and the MMA’s Amanullah Khan Niazi are the other candidates.
Keeping a bulk of party vote bank in the pocket the MQM’s Mohammad Hussain Khan enjoys an edge over the MMA’s Liaquat Ali Rehmani, the PML-N’s Syed Ali Fawad and the PPP’s Abdul Khaliq Mirza. Part of this constituency falls within the limits of NA-243, which covers North Karachi.
NA-243: This constituency was part of NA-188 in former District Central, from where the MQM’s Hasan Musanna Alvi had won last time. Its remaining part now forms the major portion of NA-244.
Seven candidates are contesting from here, but the MQM’s newcomer Sultan Ahmed Khan has a clear edge over the PML-Q, Fazal Karim Khan of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Iftikhar Ahmed Bhatti of Sunni Tehrik and the PPP’s Anwar Ahmed Khan Yousufzai.
Yousufzai is in jail, after being sentenced for six months by the Sindh High Court for contempt when PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto’s appeal against rejection of her nomination papers was rejected.
The MQM had been winning this constituency whenever it contested the elections and observers believe this time too the result would go the MQM’s way.
PS-97 (partial), PS-98: PS-97 has been discussed above. PS-98 covers North Karachi and is heavily populated with Urdu-speaking community that has been supporting the MQM since 1988 elections. Here Syed Sardar Ahmed of the MQM has clear edge over the PPP’s Dr Nasir Khan, the PML-N’s Farah Awan, Sunni Tehrik’s Munawwar Qadri, the PTI’s Nisar Ahmed and the MMA’s Mohammad Jameel.
NA-244: Most of this constituency has been carved out from NA-188. Because of its heavy Urdu-speaking population, the MQM has a clear edge over the eight other candidates.
The MQM’s Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi is another new entrant in the electoral game. He is contesting against the MMA’s Karachi Amir, Dr Mairaj-ul-Huda Siddiqui. Clashes between supporters of the two parties have become the order of the day and police are busy registering cases filed by rival supporters. The National Alliance’s candidate and the former information minister in the Musharraf government, Javed Jabbar, is a serious contestant here, although the public’s mood clearly shows he is the outsider. Against him are PPP’s Shahenshah Jafri and the PML-N’s Rifat Jabeen.
PS-99, PS-100: These constituencies are newly demarcated and were formerly part of the huge NA-188. They cover New Karachi and North Karachi Townships and are again heavily populated by people who have been voting for the MQM since 1988. The party has an edge over the other candidates.
NA-245: Like the former District Central’s other areas, this constituency, despite being changed by delimitations, still offers bright prospects for the MQM.
The MQM’s Kunwar Khalid Younus has always won seat, except for 1993, when the Jamaat-e-Islami captured it because of the MQM boycott.
With more than 200,000 voters live in the constituency, the very texture which has changed after delimitation. The densely populated Urdu-speaking locality, Gulbahar (Golimar), has been cut now and areas inhabited by people speaking Punjabi and Pushto have been included. Some MQM leaders complain that the JI, whose candidate Syed Munawwar Hasan is fighting against Kunwar Khalid Younus now, has secured the inclusion of a large number of Afghan refugees in the new voters’ lists. Munawwar Hasan is JI secretary general. Clashes between the workers of the two parties have been reported and many cases against the two sides have been registered. There are six other candidates, including those of the PPP and the PML-N.
PS-101, PS-103: PS-101 covers North Nazimabad and New Karachi, and if the voting pattern remains the same as in the previous elections, the MQM candidate, Bilquis Mukhtar, will have no problem beating MMA veteran Muzaffar Ahmed Hashmi. There are 14 other candidates.
Similarly, PS-103 covers North Nazimabad, where there is a similar situation. The MQM’s Idrees Siddiqui has a clear edge over his nearest rival, MMA’s Muhammad Muslim, and ten other candidates.
NA-246: This is the constituency which is most sought after by political observers. It falls in Federal B area and is popularly known as “Quaid ka Halqa”-”quaid” here being MQM leader Altaf Husain. Azizabad, where the MQM headquarters is located, is part of Federal B Area. The MQM has fielded its first Sindhi candidate, Azizullah Brohi, here, to broaden its base in Sindh. The MMA’s Rashid Naseem and Younus Khan of the MQM-Haqiqi are contesting against him.
The Haqiqi group is banking on Mohajir politics and is busy promoting the idea that Mohajirs would not vote for a Sindhi candidate. The MMA candidate accuses both of indulging in ethnic politics. In 1997, the MQM’s Farooq Ahmed had defeated the Jamaat’s Professor Ghafoor Ahmed here. The party had easily won it in 1988 and 1990.
PS-102, PS-105, PS-106 (partial): PS-102 and PS-105 comprises Federal B area, including Azizabad. The MQM had won these two constituencies previously and its leaders are expecting a similar feat this time. The MQM’s candidates are Imamuddin and Rehana Nasreen, whose closest rivals are the MMA’s Syed Muhammad Iqbal and Mohammad Younus Khan. PS-106 covers parts of Liaquatabad, where the MQM’s Kunwar Naveed Jamil expects to retain the party seat.
NA-247: This is another MQM’s stronghold. Liaquatabad is where the party has won every time it has contested the seat. This constituency too has been reshaped through delimitation, with portions of the former NA-188 and NA-186 carved out. But this has not affected the MQM, because as despite the delimitations Urdu speakers live in great numbers here. With more than 200,000 voters, this constituency is expected to see an easier contest for the MQM candidate Israr-ul-Ebad Khan against a weak MMA candidate, Hafiz Muhammad Taqi.
Out of 10 candidates, none, including the MMA candidate, have launched an aggressive campaign in the area. The main reason is that these candidates have unsubstantial followings and they too reluctant to come out in MQM-dominated neighbourhoods.
Israr-ul-Ebad is also a newcomer who replaced by Hasan Musanna Alvi after the MQM leadership decided to field more younger candidates.
PS-106 (part), PS-104, PS-107: PS-104 covers Nazimabad and PS-107 Liaquatabad. The MQM’s Moin Khan and Shoaib Bokhari (the former is a deputy convener of the party) maintain a clear edge over their rival MMA candidates, Muhammad Naeem and Hashim Ali Siddiqui. The MQM has been winning from these areas in the past and expects similar results in the October elections.
NA-248: This constituency is a PPP stronghold since the 1970 elections. Except for the 1985 partyless elections which the PPP boycotted, no “outsider” captured this area, usually referred to as “Bhutto’s fort.” In 1997, PPP candidate Waja Karimdad won it by the margin of a few hundred votes over PML-N candidate Mama Younus. This constituency has more than 500,000 people, with about half of them voters.
This time round, the PPP has fielded Nabil Gabol, former deputy speaker of the Sindh Assembly, on this seat. Interestingly, the MQM’s Sindhi candidate Sohrab Nizamani is considered to be his close rival. The PML-N’s Shaikh Maqsood Ahmed has little prospects because of the PML-N cadre’s indifference.
The PPP cadre is not as enthusiastic as in the past, but the constituency’s womenfolk are wholeheartedly working for the party candidate, to the extent that they outnumber the party’s male members in most corner meetings and demonstrations. “Our party cannot lose here until our womenfolk are alive,” a party leader said.
PS-108, PS-109: Both of these seats fall within the PPP stronghold Lyari. In 1997, the PPP had surprisingly lost PS-108 (previously PS-85) to PML-N candidate Farooq Awan. But the PPP never expected that result, calling it another example of rigging. This seat is still considered to be a PPP fort, where its candidate, Muhammad Saleem Hingoro, is pitted against the PML-N’s Aslam Khan, the NA’s Tajuddin Siddiqui, the PML-QA’s Ismail Ahmed, the PPP-SB’s Abdul Qadir Hingoro and the MQM’s Muhammad Ahmed.
The PPP has never lost the former PS-86, which is now PS-109. This time round, the party has fielded advocate Muhammad Rafiq against the NA’s Abid Hussain Brohi, the PML-N’s Faisal Jamal Dashty, the PML-QA’s Muhammad Anwar Baloch and the MMA’s Muhammad Naeem. The PPP leadership believes its vote bank is still intact in Lyari and that it will win again.
NA-249: This constituency with a little less than 200,000 registered voters, has a mixed ethnic blend, with the population spread over the Old Town, Ramaswami and parts of Lyari. The PPP and the MQM have seen close contest here in 1988 and 1990 but both times the MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar won it.
In 1993, when the MQM boycotted the elections, the PPP’s Aziz Memon won it against the joint candidate of the PML and the JUP, Haji Hanif Tayyab, by 4,000 votes. In 1997, Dr Farooq Sattar won again, this time against the PML-N candidate Haji Hanif Tayyab, with a large margin. Dr Sattar also won the Provincial Assembly seat, which falls in the same constituency, and opted to retain it. In a by-election on this seat, the MQM’s Babar Ghauri won it comfortably.
Although the Urdu-speaking population does not have an edge in this constituency, it is intact for the MQM, because of the opponents’ votes being divided among various parties.
This time, a triangular contest is expected among the MQM’s Aamir Liaquat Hussain, the PPP’s Abdul Habib Memon and the MMA’s Abdul Majeed Noorani. The past results and present pattern again give an edge to the MQM because its vote bank is still evidently intact.
PS-110, PS-111: Formerly, the area falling within PS-110 recorded varying results. The PPP and MQM have both won twice. Now, its population of diversified ethnic groups offers yet again an incalculable result. PPP’s Javed Hussain Baloch and MQM Abdul Aziz Bantwa are expected to be the closest rivals. Given this constituency’s enigmatic voting behaviour a total of 20 candidates are vying for it.
Although, the area covered by PS-111 have always favoured - not convincingly - the MQM, a tight contest is expected here among MQM’s Tayyab Hussain Hashmi, PPP’s Mohabat Khan and MMA’s HM Hanif.
NA-250: This constituency consists of upmarket Defence and Clifton areas plus middleclass localities and katchi abadis scattered around and in the heart of posh localities. A unique blend of voters in this constituency has made it a field for close contests, which can be manifested from results of the past four elections recording both the MQM and the PML-N two wins each.
In 1988, a candidate supported by the MQM (then Haqparast Group) won the seat. In 1990 the seat went to the same party. In 1993, the MQM’s boycotted the elections and the seat went to the PML-N that retained it in 1997 by defeating the MQM after an interesting contest.
The PPP has now fielded Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig who is head of his Baig Group of Companies. He is pitted to a tougher MQM candidate ex-Senator Nasreen Jalil who has been entrusted by the party to win the seat back snatched by the PML-N.
Three “former dignitaries” including former Governor of Sindh Mamnoon Hussain, former Mayor of Karachi Abdus Sattar Afghani and former Chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau, Wajid Jawad contest on the seat on the tickets of the PML-N, MMA and the PML-Q respectively.
Given the status of the candidates fighting on this seat the observers have termed it “the VVIP contest.” The PPP leadership hopes to take full benefit of a split in the PML-N that has spawned the Quaid-i-Azam group. The main hurdle, however, for the PPP is that its candidate never recorded an impressive showing in the past. In fact, split in the PML-N is expected to benefit the MQM, vote bank of which is still considered to be intact.
PS-112, PS-113: PS-112 covers Burns Road area that had earlier been controlled by the Jamaat-I-Islami but since 1988 elections MQM has been winning it convincingly. The party keeps its hopes alive for this time too and expects its candidate Syed Shakir Ali will prevail over MMA’s Mohammad Ahmed Siddiqui, PPP’s Syed Najmi Alam and 12 other candidates.
PS-113 was won by the MQM and the PML-N twice. MQM won it in 1988 and 1990 and the PML-N in the last two elections. This time PML-N’s veteran Saleem Zia is still going strong against MQM’s Akhtar Mehdi Bilgrami, PPP’s Raja Kamran Khan, MMA’s Khwaja Sharful Islam and Haqiqi’s Khurram Masood. An interesting contest is on the cards.
NA-251: This constituency of about 500,000 residents has over 200,000 votes. It covers parts of the old Districts South and East and encircles posh society area and lower middle class localities of the Lines Area and Jamshed Quarters. The Urdu speaking people, Punjabis and Pushtuns live in a sizable number in its various parts.
MQM’s candidate Tariq Mehmood won the elections in 1988 and 1990. In 1993, the MQM boycotted the elections on the National Assembly seats benefitting Captain Haleem Siddiqui of the PML to win it convincingly against weak candidates of the PPP and the former Islami Jamhoori Ittehad. He won again in 1997 by defeating MQM’s Mohammad Abdul Jalil by a margin of more than 6,400 votes.
This time round the political observers consider it a close contest between the MQM’s Syed Safwanullah and PML-N’s Mushahidullah Khan for the past showing of the two parties.
Abdul Ghaffar Umer Kabedia of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and PPP’s Qaisar Khan Nizamani are the other candidates who are considered to be spoilers.
This NA constituency comprises of PS-114 and PS-115 and the PML-N’s Saleem Zia and Sardar Abdur Rahim had won both in 1997. This time, a close contest between PML-N and MQM candidates is expected. on PS-114 former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s son-in-law Irfanullah Marwat is also contesting as a candidate of the Sindh Democratic Alliance which has a sizable following in Mehmoodabad locality.
PS-114, PS-115: The PML-N’sSardar Abdur Rahim, a former president of Karachi University student union, had won PS-114 twice earlier and still considered to be the favourite given a sizable number of Punjabi voters in the area comprising Mehmoodabad. Marwat and MQM’s Syed Afsar Saghir are his closest rivals.
PS-115 is an area that remained wide open for any candidate in the past. MQM, however, won it more times than others. A total of 20 candidates are vying for this seat and this time round too MQM’s Abdur Rauf Siddiqui is a favourite.
NA-252: Again an MQM stronghold given the party performance recorded in the past. This constituency falls in the parts of Jamshed and Gulshan-i-Iqbal towns with a little more than 220,000 registered voters. Majority of them is Urdu-speaking.
In 1988, Dr Farooq Sattar of the MQM had won the seat while in 1990 the same party’s Rafiq Essani won it comfortably. In 1993, the MQM’s boycott gave an opportunity to the PML-N’s Zohair Akram Nadeem to win it over a weaker PPP candidate. In 1997, MQM’s Aijaz Mehmood won it with thumping margin over other candidates.
The contest is expected between the MQM’s Intezar Hussain Qureshi and MMA’s Mohammad Hussain Mehnati. Rest of the 12 candidates, including PPP’s Najam Saeed Chawla have little to bank on.
Both the MQM and the MMA candidates have launched aggressive election campaigns. The MQM leadership, however, is optimistic about retaining the seat, believing their vote bank has remained intact.
PS-116, PS-117: MQM’s Barkat Ali Khan and Syed Mustafa Kamal are favourite candidates on these constituencies if one sets a criterion based on the past results. The both constituencies - one covers Bahadurabad and the other PIB Colony - have always had bright prospects for the MQM. The party leadership believes it has no reason to think otherwise.
On PS-116, Haqiqi’s Syed Shakir Ali, NA’s Syed Abdul Bari Jilani and MMA’s Nasrullah Khan are potential rivals to the MQM candidate. On PS-117, MQM feels MMA’s Ghulam Abbas Panjwani may contest aggressively.
NA-253: It comprises Gulshan-I-Iqbal and adjoining localities. Till 1997, it was a part of the NA-193 in the District East. Another constituency that has been carved out from this constituency is NA-256 Shah Faisal Colony.
The MQM’s slain parliamentarian Nishat Mallick had won the former NA-193 seat in 1997. The party had been winning it since 1988 barring 1993 polls boycott.
This new constituency covers the entire Gulshan-I-Iqbal with more than 200,000 voters. In the past, the MQM candidates have been getting visible majority over rivals in this area and the way the MQM’s electioneering is going a ‘favourable’ result is a strong possibility.
The MQM has fielded Mohammad Fahimuddin on this seat against seventeen candidates. MMA’s Asadullah Bhutto is considered to be the only candidate who can strive sparsely to make it a contest. A number of villages and sporadic localities populated by natives and other ethnic entities are the original targets of Bhutto and his Jamaat-e-Islami workers. Other candidates are PML-N’s Zainul Abedin Ansari and PPP’s Shafi Mohammad Shah. These two plus Mr Bhutto are expected to spoil each other’s prospects.
For the MQM’s candidate, the spoiler is Nazir Ibrahim Shaikh of the breakaway Haqiqi faction. However, the analysts say the Haqiqi faction has a little following in the electorate and can only slightly damage the MQM contender.
PS-118, PS-119: Both constituencies cover Gulshan-i-Iqbal and adjoining localities from where the MQM has always won in the last four elections. MQM’s Faisal Ali Sabzwari and Mohammad Abbas Jafri are facing main opposition from the MMA’s Syed Qutub Ahmed and Mohammad Haleem Khan. The candidates of the two parties are aggressively campaigning in these constituencies, carved out from previously NA-193. A change in voting pattern cannot be ruled out.
NA-254: Originally, it was a huge constituency of formerly NA-194 covering the entire Korangi Township. After demarcation it has been slashed sizably and divided into two. The other constituency (NA-255) also covers some parts of Landhi area.
This constituency of more than 200,000 voters had been won by the MQM in 1988, 1990 and 1997 elections. Last year MQM’s Mohammad Arif Khan had won it by bagging 38,637 votes defeating the candidates of the rival Haqiqi faction, PPP, PML-N and several others.
For the upcoming elections, an interesting contest is on the cards among the MQM’s advocate Nawab Mirza, a former Sindh Assembly speaker, Haqiqi’s Mohammad Akhtar Shad, MMA’s Syed Zahid Siraj, PML-N’s Akhtar Hussain Awan and PPP’s advocate Farzana Latif. Rest of nine candidates are considered to be outsiders.
The real contestants here are considered to be the contenders of the two MQM factions. This constituency is thickly populated with the Urdu-speaking community and both the MQM factions have their own ‘controlled’ areas. Even, there are many localities in Korangi where their dominance narrowly overlaps each other. In the 1990s fierce clashes had been reported between their activists owing to this deadly synchronization.
Despite this, the past records show the MQM had bagged votes with big margins. Keeping the records in mind, the political analysts term the Muttahida candidate as favourite. The past records clearly show the MQM had bagged more votes than the Haqiqi even from the area where the latter’s headquarters are located.
The Haqiqi leadership is, however, confident that this time the result would be different. Its candidate and activists have launched an aggressive campaign.
PS-123, PS-124: These two constituencies fall in the limits of NA-254 that is itself a new constituency carved out from the former NA-194. This clearly shows the prospects are wide open for the candidates of the archrivals MQM factions. MQM has fielded Syed Jarar Hyder and Syed Talib Imam against the Haqiqi’s Sohail Anjum and Fatima Ismail. Although, the MQM has been winning these localities despite terming them as ‘no go areas’. But Haqiqi’s aggressive campaign would not make it a one-sided affair.
NA-255: This constituency is also a part of the old NA-194, as most of its size has been constituted of Landhi and Korangi areas carved out from the old constituency to form a new one.
Here too an interesting contest is being expected among MQM’s Mohammad Abrar-ul-Haq, Haqiqi’s Mehmood Ahmed Qureshi, PML-N’s Tariq Khan, and MMA’s Mohammad Aslam Mujahid.
Having edge to Urdu-speaking population in number this constituency still offers brighter prospects to those hailing from other ethnic entities. Pushtuns and Punjabis live here in sizable number while native population has also something to attract the candidates.
Besides, a considerable number of people of religious minorities also live here.
The Muttahida candidate has an edge keeping in view that his party was also hitting the areas of all ethnic entities. Rival Haqiqi candidate, as per the party policy, is strictly working in a limited periphery with a far limited scope of better prospects given the MQM’s ostensibly intact vote bank.
The MMA candidate is wooing voters committed to religious parties. He and the PML-N’s Pathan candidate are also vying for Pushtun votes - the former for deep-rooted religious mindset of the community and the latter for being a part of the same ethnic group. On the other hand, the PPP candidate is seeking support from the sparsely dotted native population.
PS-122, PS-125: These constituencies covering Landhi and Korangi areas were also the part of the formerly NA-194 and carved out by delimitations. Parts of these two, as MQM claims, are Haqiqi controlled ‘no go areas.’ Here too a one-and-one contest is expected between the candidates of the MQM factions. MQM has fielded Mirza Qudratullah Baig and Moin Aamir Pirzada against the Haqiqi candidates Younus Khan and Mohammad Ali. Given the areas are heavily populated by the Urdu-speaking community the contest should be a close affair.
NA-256: This constituency was part of the previously NA-193 from where MQM’s Nishat Mallick had won in 1997. It consists of Shah Faisal Colony and adjoining localities having a sizable Urdu-speaking population.
Like its twin constituency NA-252, it too offers shinier prospects to the MQM. Like NA-254 Korangi, here too an uptight situation between the two MQM factions exists and self-exiled Muttahida leader Altaf Hussain reckons major parts of this area too a “no go area” for his party candidates.
Like other areas - mainly in the former District East and partly in erstwhile District Central - where the two factions have had clashes in the past.
For October elections, the MQM has fielded Iqbal Mohammad Ali Khan against the Haqiqi’s Abid Ali Jafri and MMA’s Mohammad Hashim Siddiqui. The rest of 15 candidates including those of the PPP and the PML-N are being considered as strangers.
According to the Muttahida leadership its candidate and activists have no chance to move freely and go for canvassing. The Haqiqis, however, reject this, counterclaiming that even their candidates have been barred from canvassing in the former District Central and all those areas where the Muttahida has an edge.
Past records of the voting pattern show the MQM had a clear edge in this area and observers believe this would be repeated.
PS-120, PS-121: Being newly-carved constituencies covering congested Shah Faisal Colony and adjoining localities they offer some prospects to the Haqiqi candidates Abdul Waheed Qureshi and Sharif Khan against strong MQM that has fielded Ali bin Hamid and Hamid-uz-Zafar. The Haqiqi also controls parts of these localities famously termed as ‘no go areas’ but the MQM had swept it always in the past. This time, it is expected the two groups would have a tougher contest.
NA-257: Formerly it was NA-196 spanning a huge Malir area. In 1997, MQM’s Farrukh Naeem Siddiqui had won it against the weaker candidates of the PPP and other parties having little roots in the area. The same party won it more convincingly in 1988 and 1990 elections.
The constituency mainly covers the inhabitants of the urban parts of Malir and the majority is Urdu speaking who have been supporting the MQM in every general elections. MQM has fielded Mohammad Hashim against a shrewd MMA candidate, Osama Razi, a former leader of the JI’s student wing Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba.
Observers expect an interesting showdown here given the fact that a strong Jamaat following exist in a number of parts of Malir. Besides, committed voters of the JUI, particularly those hailing from the NWFP, can also support him.
PML-QA’s Rahim Adil Shaikh also enjoys some support due to influence of his landowner brother Aleem Adil Shaikh. He is vying for votes of native Sindhis and Punjabis. The past records still favour the MQM but a good contest is still expected.
PS-126, PS-127, PS-128: PS-126 covers Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Gulshan-i-Iqbal and adjoining localities and offers an open contest with a slight edge to the MQM candidate Nadeem Maqbool against PPP’s Baloch Khan, PML-N’s Zainul Abedin Ansari, MMA’s Mohammad Younus Barai and 21 others.
PS-127 covers Malir area and here too MQM’s Shahbaz Hussain expects a slight edge over others. PPP’s Abdullah Murad, PML-QA’s Mohammad Afzal, Haqiqi Mohammad Saghir and MMA’s Syed Musharraf Ali are expected to give him a good contest.
PS-128 covers localities like Gulshan-i-Hadeed, parts of Landhi, and a number of villages. It is an open contest among 19 candidates of all the major parties contesting in Sindh.
NA-258: Like most of the Karachi constituencies this is not a piece of cake for the MQM. A sizable part of it comprises the former NA-195 that the MQM’s Shaikh Liaquat Hussain had won in 1997 by bagging a relatively low 26,692 votes. Though, the MQM had been winning it in the past but never convincingly.
This time round, the MQM has little prospects of winning this seat as the delimitations have cut the Urdu speaking votes sizably. No it comprises mostly of native voters, giving an edge to the PPP. MQM leadership, however, is not happy with delimitations over here and frequently term this seat along with NA-239 as having been carved out on “ethnic grounds”.
PPP has fielded Sher Mohammad Baloch against MQM’s Sindhi candidate Syed Amir Hussain Shah Lakhyari, PML-N’s Rab Nawaz Khan Niazi, Sindh Democratic Alliance’s Yousuf Mustikhan, MMA’s Maulana Abdul Shakoor Khairpuri and PML-Q’s Aleem Adil Shaikh. Observers believe it will be one of the most interesting contest. Most of the candidates, including that of the MQM, are Sindhis or Balochs to vie for the native votes.
Although the PPP candidate has some edge for the party’s support among local fishermen community, the field is considered open for everyone. Observers believe all the abovementioned candidates (except for the PPP) have no visible vote bank but they believe they can cash in on undecided voters.
PS-129, PS-130: These two constituencies have been carved out by re-demarcation and offer shinier prospects to the PPP candidates Mohammad Umer and Sajid Jokhio. MQM has fielded its Sindhi candidates Haji Wali Mohammad and Ashfaq Mangi. However, to spoil MQM’s prospects the MQM Haqiqi has fielded its own candidates.
PPP-SB and PML’s Q and N factions have also fielded their candidates and observers say the contest would not be a one-sided affair for the PPP.