KARACHI: The race for the coveted office of Karachi mayor took an intriguing turn on Saturday after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced its endorsement of Naeem ur-Rehman from Jamaat-i-Islami for the position.
A spokesperson for the opposition party confirmed the party’s support for Rehman, accusing the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of pre-vote rigging.
Following the hotly contested local bodies elections in the port city, the party of foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto emerged as the largest group but fell short of securing the required simple majority of 179 votes to claim the mayor’s office.
Even with an alliance formed with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the PPP will still need a minimum of 22 additional votes to reach the majority threshold.
In terms of seat distribution, the PPP currently holds the largest number of seats in the city council with 98, followed by Jamaat-e-Islami with 89 seats and PTI with 42 seats. However, no single party commands a simple majority in the city council.
The spokesperson for PTI claimed that the PPP, in collaboration with the Sindh police, was engaging in the “abduction” of elected representatives of the party before they could be sworn into office.
These allegations were made in the context of the PTI’s contention that the PPP, having previously evaded municipal elections on four occasions, now seeks to hastily elect a mayor.
In response to these concerns, the spokesperson revealed that the party has approached the court to address the matter.
They emphasised the need for a transparent process to elect the mayor, asserting that both the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were resistant to accepting the public mandate.
Following PTI’s support, Rehman finds himself in a strong position for securing the mayoral post in Karachi.