NA-246 by-poll: numbers matter but votes count | Pakistan Today

NA-246 by-poll: numbers matter but votes count

  • PTI holds rally at Shahrah-e-Pakistan to show its numbers a day after MQM’s mega show
  • MWM announces support for PTI while PML-N pledges votes to JI candidate

Election fever is in the air in Karachi’s NA-246 constituency as a day after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) massive rally at Shah‎rah-e-Pakistan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday organised its show at the same venue where PTI Chairman Imran Khan blew the war horn by launching scathing criticism of the MQM.

Addressing a mammoth gathering, Khan said the Urdu-speaking community progressed rapidly after migrating to Pakistan; “top bureaucrats, intellectuals, soldiers, and politicians have hailed from the muhajir community but unfortunately a specific group had been scoring political points by using the ‘Muhajir’ ‎card.

Referring to MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Khan said, “Tell me an instance from anywhere else in the world, where a leader of a political party in the government has been residing abroad for over two decades.”

The PTI chief then launched a salvo of allegations against the MQM, accusing it of militancy and criminal activities.

The Majlis-ieWahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) announced prior to the PTI’s rally that it will support PTI in the by-election of April 23.

However, making a mark through Sunday’s rally won’t come easy for PTI for the bar was set high when Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) hosted thousands in a rally in the same neighbourhood just a day earlier.

MQM’s rally had equal doses of theatrics and politics, with party chief Altaf Hussain making sure no audience member left the venue without being thoroughly entertained.

Earlier, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) also made every effort to exhibit its political strength. It organised a women’s rally on Shahrah-i-Pakistan on Friday to lay to rest the speculation about the party’s understanding with the PTI for the April 23 voting that was hinted at by Imran Khan and his aides on several occasions.

The by-polls in NA-246, scheduled to be held on April 23, are expected to be a three-way contest between Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Imran Ismail, MQM’s Kanwar Naveed Jamil and Jamaat-i-Islami’s (JI’s) Rashid Naseem.

The NA-246 constituency of Karachi houses a number of heavily populated concentrations of Urdu-speakers (also known as Mohajirs) that first began to settle in these areas from 1953.

Most of these concentrated clusters belong to the middle and lower-middle classes of the city, and the literacy rate in this constituency is also one of the highest in Karachi.

In a relating development, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday announced to support the Jamaat-e-Islami candidate for Karachi’s NA-246 constituency.

Addressing a joint press conference along with JI candidate Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, PML-N Sindh President Ismael Row said that his party has a sizeable vote bank in the constituency and their voters will cast their ballots in favour of the JI candidate.

He said that the PML-N would run a door-to-door campaign in the constituency to seek votes for the JI candidate, who was their joint candidate.

The JI candidate said that his party had also sought the support of the PPP, PTI and other parties but except for the ruling party none of them lend their support to him. Rehman said that the JI has a strong vote bank in NA-246 and after the PML-N’s support he was optimistic of winning the seat with a big margin.

The JI candidate said that the party will display its final power show on Monday in Karachi, which will also be attended by the PML-N workers and leaders, who have been invited to the public rally.

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