KARACHI: With the slogan of ‘Labaik ya Hussain,’ and a tent as their election symbol in the forthcoming general elections, Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM) – the leading political group for the Shia community – hopes to put up a tough competition against its political opponents in Karachi.
The party is testing its political strength for the first time with 140 candidates on the National and provincial assembly seats across the country.
In Sindh, the party has designated 40 candidates for seats of both the assemblies, out of which it is contesting on five National Assembly seats and seven Sindh Assembly seats from Karachi.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, the MWM Karachi political secretary, Syed Asghar Abbas Zaidi, said that the party’s aims were not only to gain seats but to change the system to the Islamic one. “We want to bring Shariat-e-Mohammadi in the country and eradicate terrorism and corruption. Our community’s best people were targeted and no one heard our cries – now we are standing up for our rights and for the protection of the Shia community,” said Zaidi, adding that the community had the power to bring the whole country to a standstill with their peaceful sit-ins.
According to Zaidi, more than five million people of the Shia community live in more than 25 areas, including Soldier Bazaar, Gulshan, Abbas Town, Malir, Jaffer-e-Tayyar, Kharadar, FB Area, Hussain Hazara Goth, Mughal Hazara Goth, Ancholi, Rizvia and Hussainabad.
The party plans to contest elections from these locations.
Representing a community
“We might have political differences with other political parties but we don’t have enmities with any of them,” said the political secretary. He is also a candidate for the National Assembly seat, NA-253, constituting areas of Abbas Town, Pehalwan Goth, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Rizvia-II.
When asked about their competition, Zaidi said that votes from the Shia community earlier went to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. “But this time since we’ve named our candidates, the Shia vote bank of the MQM will be cut down. Jamaat-e-Islami has never gotten votes from our community and it is highly unlikely that they will get them in these upcoming elections.”
He said that the party was facing problems from a political party in the city and MWM’s wall chalking was also removed in Shah Faisal Colony and Malir, after which people of the Shia community also retaliated.
Regarding political alliances and seat adjustments, Zaidi said that they are in contact with Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Sunni Tehreek. No decision, however, has been taken as yet.
From Karachi, the party is contesting on NA-252, NA-253, NA-250, NA-257 and NA-258 of the National Assembly and PS-119, PS-118, PS-117, PS-126, PS-127, PS-94, PS-102 of the Sindh Assembly.
“We are contesting only on those seats where we have our vote bank and all these areas are Shia majority. “Our slogan ‘Labaik Ya Hussain’ will bring people together to vote for the tent which will change the system.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2013.