KARACHI: After the latest delimitation, District East has lost many of its areas to District Korangi. However, the district’s area remains a complex mixture of posh and slum areas with poor infrastructure.
The third-largest district in Karachi according to the population and number of registered voters, District East’s total population stands at 28,53,616 with 14,36,109 registered voters.
The district is home to four NA constituencies, NA-242, NA-243, NA-244 and NA-245, and eight provincial assembly constituencies.
A big chunk of the district is occupied by posh areas such as, KDA Overseas, six blocks of Gulshan-e-Iqbal, KDA Officers Housing Society, Askari Cantt, Darul Aman Society, Delhi Mercantile Society, Sindhi Muslim Society, Manzoor Colony, Teen Hatti, Jamshed Road, Binori Town, Soldier Bazaar and Tariq Road, but at the same time, illegal encroachments, slums and narrow lanes can also be found in the district.
Dubbed as the hub of education, District East is host to some of the city’s biggest public sector universities and higher educational institutions, such as the University of Karachi, NED University and Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology.
Adding to the significance of the district is the presence of two major hospitals – the Aga Khan University Hospital and the Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College.
A visit to this district is said to be imperative for every Karachiite to get access to educational and health facilities.
Be it the National Stadium, spacious parks, such as the Askari Amusement Park, Expo Center, Central Jail, Karachi, Lucky One Shopping Mall or many other important shopping centres, this district is home to some of the most-frequented areas of the city.
The district also garners attention because of popular candidates contesting elections. With a population in millions of the Punjabi and Memon communities in the district, it is surprising that only 12 candidates are contesting elections from the two communities.
Two Dehli Punjabi Sodagaran candidates are contesting from NA-244 while four Memon candidates are contesting from PS-103 on tickets of different parties.
According to the municipal administration, there are 31 union committees in the district, out of which 20 belong to Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), four to Pakistan Peoples Party, two to Jamaat-e-Islami, two to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, two to Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz and one to an independent candidate.
A major chunk of the district is based on the Urdu-speaking population but due to the distribution of the Muhajir vote to different parties in the district, the voter dynamics of the district remains interesting.
In the 2002 elections, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal gave a tough time to the MQM but MQM managed to gained back its lost constituencies. In 2002, MQM’s Syed Safwanullah, Muhammad Hussain Mehanti and Asadullah Bhutto won in NA-251, NA-252 and NA-253 respectively. However, in the 2008 elections, MQM’s Waseem Akhtar won the NA-251 seat and Ali Raza Abidi in 2013. Meanwhile, in the 2013 elections, Abdul Rasheed Gondal won the NA-251 seat, Haider Abbas Rizvi the NA-252 seat and Muzammil Qureshi the NA-253 seat.
As compared to the past, MQM will have to form a record of peoples representation in the district this time around as along with the influence of religious parties, the presence of PSP and PTI is also strong in the district. It can also be said that the new delimitations have created hurdles for the victorious team of the past.