- PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi says result not shocking
- PPP’s Shehla Raza says people don’t understand LG, provincial gov functions
- MQM’s Ali Raza Abidi claims votes were counted in polling agents’ absence
- PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal claims margin of victory less than rejected votes in Shehbaz’s constituency
- Independent candidate says PSP vs MQM divided party workers
LAHORE: Ever since the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) split from its former chief Altaf Hussain and the subsequent Rangers’ operations to restore peace to the country’s Industrial heart, the city of lights has seen a shift in politics which had earlier been stagnant for over a decade, with the same parties enjoying the people’s mandate.
In the recent general elections, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)– parties that have traditionally dominated the city’s political scene, were voted out and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) made political inroads into Karachi.
Karachi has a total of 15 National Assembly (NA) seats, out of which, the PTI swept 11, PPP bagged one seat and the MQM got 3.
The country’s largest city also has 31 provincial assembly seats, out of which, the PTI clinched 17 seats, PPP got four seats, the MQM won six seats and the TLP bagged two seats.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) failed to win a single NA or provincial assembly seat.
Pakistan Today spoke to leaders of various political parties and sought their analysis on the sudden shift in Karachi’s politics.
PTI leader Dr Arif Alvi told Pakistan Today, “The result does not come as a shock to us as we had the same vote bank in the 2013 general elections but our mandate was stolen.”
“An important reason for PTI’s win from Karachi is because the party has had consistent policies regarding Karachi’s problems and PTI’s anti-corruption political beliefs appeal to the people,” he added.
Dr Alvi also said, “We also installed 10 filtration plants and distributed over 60,000 seed pencils without government funding.”
“The PPP and MQM, despite being in power, have failed to deliver in Karachi,” he asserted.
“Following the restoration of peace in the city, political coercion is not possible anymore which is why the people have voted freely and have voted for us,” the PTI leader further added.
PPP Shehla Raza told Pakistan Today, “People in Pakistan do not understand that provincial governments give funds to local governments (LGs) and the LGs are charged with the responsibility to work in union councils (UCs).”
“The provincial government does its own projects and the PPP government has done several of them,” she added.
“The PPP introduced CyberKnife radiation therapy, gynaecology laser and mechanical heart surgery in Karachi and this proves that we have worked,” she also said.
“PPP also built Asia’s biggest trauma centre and medical treatment is free throughout Sindh in government hospitals,” Raza claimed.
The PPP leader also said, “Health, infrastructure, education and peace were our major areas of focus and we delivered in all these sectors.”
“Hatred against us has been spread within Karachi’s population,” she lamented.
“MQM has enjoyed Karachi’s mandate for several decades but they have never delivered,” Raza also added.
It is pertinent to note that the NA seat from Lyari was won by PTI and the two provincial assembly seats in the area were won by TLP and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, respectively.
MQM leader Ali Raza Abidi told Pakistan Today, “It is a cause of concern that the votes were counted in the absence of the polling agents.”
“The elections were engineered and the results are controversial,” Abidi alleged.
He also said, “The election process has also been mired in controversy.”
“It seems as if the Sunni Tehreek and Jamaat-e-Islami’s vote bank has been swept by the TLP,” the MQM leader analysed.
He questioned, “Can one ascertain in these conditions that the results are really correct?”
Commenting on former Punjab chief minister (CM) and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s failure to win from Karachi, former interior minister and PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal told Pakistan Today, “Shehbaz was denied recounting even though it is his right.”
“PTI won from that constituency with a margin of a few 100 votes while the number of rejected votes is in thousands,” the former minister added.
The PML-N leader alleged, “It seems that there is a cover-up in that constituency.”
“Imran Khan himself vowed to open any constituency that was demanded but now he is backing out of his promise,” Iqbal further added.
He claimed, “The people of Karachi appreciate the peace and stability that the PML-N government ensured for them.”
Rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir contested the general elections as an independent candidate and told Pakistan Today, “People have voted for the TLP not for governance but because of ideology.”
“The MQM vs PSP divide and later the Bahadurabad incident has divided the worker base and subsequently the voters, which has allowed PTI to gain,” he added.