NA-254 is now a battle between MQM, PTI
20 August, 2013
KARACHI: Since two mainstream political parties of metropolis Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami National Party (ANP) have announced boycott from participating in by-election 2013, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is the only party challenging Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
It is pertinent to mention here that polling in NA-254 was postponed during general election held on May 11 due to the assassination of ANP candidate Sadiq Zaman Khattak and his six-year-old son in Bilal Colony. The incident occurred a week before elections, after which Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) postponed the election.
In 2008, MQM's Dr Mohammad Ayoub Sheikh won this seat with 132,648 votes; Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Dr Shakeel Ahmed was the first runner-up with 2,361 votes. In 2002, MQM's Nawab Mirza with 42,888 votes swept the seat, and the first runner up was Zahid Siraj of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal with 16,733 votes.
Since 1988, NA-254 has been MQM's permanent seat.
This year fifteen candidates are contesting in the constituency, including Muhammad Asghar Dars, SM Farooq, Rajab Ali, Sajjad Hussain, Shabbir Ahmed Qalim Khani, Muhammad Hussain Khan, Muhammad Rustam Qadri, Muhammad Suleman Ahmed, Muhammad Arif Khan, Muhammad Ali Rashid, Muhammad Naeem Sheikh, Mangal Khan Kharooti, Mullana Abdul Sattar and Mian Muhammad Ilyas Rasheed. The major competition will be between MQM's candidate Muhammad Ali Rashid and PTI's contender Muhammad Naeem Sheikh.
Talking to our sources, MQM's candidate Muhammad Ali Rashid said he believes that there will be no competition as MQM has always won this constituency. "We have a very strong position here, which can be judged from the results of the PS seats," he said, adding that today around 0.3 million attended public gathering regarding election camping.
"The decision to deploy army at polling stations is good, but the opposing party should accept their loss with an open heart, as all their demands have been accepted," he said.
Calling army deployment only in Karachi, discriminatory, he said that MQM still welcomes it. "Development and water issues are among the major problems in this constituency, which will be resolved on priority basis," Rashid concluded.
PTI's Candidate Muhammad Naeem Sheikh said, "I am 100 percent confident that PTI will win this seat. Tsunami of Imran Khan has hit Pakistan, particularly Karachi. Karachiites are now well aware about the political situation." He said that recently PTI chief also visited the constituency. "The situation in Karachi is worse in terms of law and order, however no one is responding to the demands," Sheikh said, further adding that despite receiving threats, he and other PTI activists are busy in the election campaign.
"As ECP has accepted our demand of army deployment at polling stations and booths, we are satisfied with the arrangements so far. We also met with returning officer of the constituency, who assured us about free and fair election," he disclosed.
The constituency, locality wise, is also very appealing as it covers the industrial as well as old residential areas of the metropolis. The seat covers Korangi Industrial Area, Korangi residential area, Mehran Town, Bilal Colony, Double Road Area 9000, Gulzar Colony, Nasir Colony, Allahwala Town, Qayyumabad, Zia Colony, Korangi sector 32-A and C, Chakra Goth, Mustafa Taj Colony, Hasrat Mohani Colony, Korangi sector-51/L and 51/E, 100 Quarters, Korangi sectors of 50/A, 50/C, 48/E and 48/F, Silver Town, Korangi sector 48/B and Korangi Cantonment. Majority lower and middle class people reside in this area.
Issues of constituency: Being among the older areas of the city, the constituency has a lot of problems.
Some of the major issues include lack of a garbage dumping site, especially for industrial waste, broken roads and infrastructure, a higher percentage of street crimes, less educational facilities, shortage of water, electricity theft and encroachment on government properties.