KARACHI: With their patience run out due to the non-resolution of their issues, many traders and businesspersons of Karachi have entered into the electoral fray in such large numbers for the first time. They are contesting the upcoming elections on tickets of various parties.
According to candidates belonging to the trading class, they are participating in the elections to take up the issues of traders’ community to Parliament and to play an effective role through the platform of their respective political parties in resolving the issues being faced by the business community in the country.
These candidates also claim that their presence in the legislature would help bring economic reforms in the country as they have better understanding of the issues related to economy.
Many political parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) have embraced aspirants representing the business community and awarded them tickets for the elections.
The presence of a large number of prominent businesspersons in the field may result in a significant turnout in the elections from traders’ class. Some analysts are expecting that the business community in the city will support their peers and vote for them in the polls, regardless of their political affiliations. The businessperson candidates are also vying to get support from various traders and industrialists’ associations of Karachi.
Most of the PPP candidates who represent the business community are from agricultural sector and real estate. In Sindh, the party has given tickets to many people involved in agricultural industry. Many of them have been affiliated with the party for several years and have also contested elections in the past. The PML-N has likewise awarded tickets to several traders.
This time, however, the PTI has also been banking on the support from business community as notable businesspersons of construction and rice industry have joined the party. Former chairpersons of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan and Travel Agents Association of Pakistan, Abdul Rahim Jano and Muhammad Yahya Yolani respectively, joined the PTI in the presence of party chief Imran Khan and investor Aqeel Karim Dedhi.
Notable businesspersons in the field
The current deputy mayor of Karachi, Arshad Vohra, is a known businessperson and has served as the chairperson of the SITE industry association. He is also involved in managing the affairs of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce. Vohra was elected as the Karachi deputy mayor when he was affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. However, later, he joined the PSP and is now contesting from NA-256 District Central, which comprises areas of Federal B Area, North Nazimabad and Liaquatabad.
The MMA has fielded Zahid Saeed in NA-244 District East who is affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry. He has also formerly headed the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) and the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association.
Former finance minister Miftah Ismail hails from a well-known family of industrialists. The PML-N has fielded him in NA-244 District East. His brother Maqsood Ismail has served as the Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) vice-chairperson.
Interestingly, the PSP has also fielded a businessperson, Saeed Shafique, in the same constituency from where Ismail and Saeed are contesting. Shafique is a former chairperson of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Mehmood Baqi Moulvi, former chairperson of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, has been awarded ticket by the PTI in NA-255 District Central. He was also a part of the team that conducted the FPCCI elections in 2017.
The MQM-P has awarded its ticket to Amir Waliuddin Chishti for NA-256 District Central. Chishti also belongs to a renowned business family. He is the brother of former MPA Khalid Bin Waleed and has been associated with the petroleum sector. His group also makes investments in different departments.
A prominent name in the leather export Industry, Danish Khan, has been fielded by the PSP in NA-241 District Korangi. He is actively involved in the affairs of the KATI and has also served as the Pakistan Traders Association chairperson.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has awarded ticket to Ghulam Hashim Noorani for PS-106 District East. He is associated with pharmaceutical industry.
Nauman Badar Farooqui is associated with confectionary business and is contesting the elections from PS-101 Karachi East. He is also the editor of a daily newspaper. Farooqui is in the field as an independent candidate and his election symbol is house.
Muhammad Hussain Mehanti is also a businessperson and he has been fielded by the MMA in NA-247.
A young businessperson, Faisal Moiz Khan, is the PSP candidate in PS-129 District Central. He is the son of a senior member of the North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry, Captain Moiz Khan.
The PSP has also fieled a woman entrepreneur, Samina Bilal, in PS-107 that comprises areas of Arambagh and Lyari. She owns a travel agency.
Muhammad Junaid Makati, the MMA candidate for PS-103 District East, is also a trader. Former FPCCI vice-president Waseem Vohra is contesting the elections from PS-110 on the PML-N ticket.
Former KATI senior vice-chairperson Amjadullah Khan is contesting the elections from NA-253 District Central. He was earlier affiliated with the MQM-P, however, he has now joined the PPP and is contesting on the symbol of arrow.