Ethnicity factor to decide results of NA-238

Rah-e-Haq Party's Aurangzeb Farooqi, Sindh chiefs of PML-N, ANP in the field

Amir Khan July 16, 2018
Ibrahim Hyderi, a locality of fishing community, is included in NA-238 among other areas. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: NA-238 District Malir comprises relatively underdeveloped localities of Karachi, including the populated area of Malir No 3, along with Ibrahim Hyderi sub-division, Korangi Creek Cantonment Board, Landhi, Bilal Colony, Quaidabad and Gulistan Society.

The famous Bhains Colony in Landhi is also a constituent locality of NA-238. Here lie many cattle ranches, which are the source of milk for the entire city. The industrial area of Landhi, hosting many mills, and the fishing community's colony of Ibrahim Hyderi also fall in the constituency.

The population of NA-238 is an assemblage of multiple ethnicities, which makes it an interesting constituency for political soothsayers. Sindhis, Balochis, Punjabis, Pathans and Muhajirs, all have considerable strength in the constituency. Many religious minorities also have their vote banks in the constituency.

A large percentage of households residing in the constituency live under the poverty line. They are bereft of education, healthcare, infrastructure and other basic facilities.

Provincial seats falling under NA-238 are PS-89, PS-90 and PS-91.

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Before the new delimitation, areas falling in NA-238 were parts of NA-257 and NA-258.The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) succeeded to clinch the former NA-257 seat for the last three elections with its candidate Muhammad Shamim Siddiqui winning in the 2002 elections and Sajid Ahmed winning back to back in the elections of 2008 and 2013. The former NA-258 seat was one of the few seats of the city that evaded the MQM as in the 2002 and 2008 elections Sher Muhammad Baloch of the Pakistan Peoples Party emerged victorious, whereas Abdul Hakeem Baloch of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) triumphed in the 2003 elections. Hakeem later joined the PPP and resigned from the seat, only to be reelected again on the latter's ticket.

As many as 20 candidates have entered into the fray for NA-238. The PPP has fielded Syed Rafiullah, the MQM-P Gulfaraz Khan Khattak, the PML-N Syed Shah Muhammad Shah, the Awami National Party (ANP) Shahi Syed, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Zunaira Rehman, while the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has awarded its ticket to Muhammad Islam.

Rah-e-Haq Party leader Aurangzeb Farooqi is also vying for the seat along with independents and candidates of other parties.

Both the ANP and the PML-N have fielded their Sindh chiefs in NA-238, banking on support of various ethnicities. Though, the MQM-P, MMA and PTI cannot be considered out of the race, the real fight is expected between the ANP, PML-N, PPP and Rah-e-Haq Party candidates, of whom no one seems to be a clear favourite.

A major challenge being faced by the candidates in NA-238 is ensuring the turnout of women on the elections day. Women of many underprivileged households opt to abstain from voting due to which candidates are going door-to-door to ask women to vote for them.

According to political analysts, NA-238 and its provincial constituencies' results may be upsets due to the new delimitation and breaking-up of the MQM.

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A total of 22 candidates will face each on the elections day in PS-89. The PPP has fielded Muhammad Saleem, whereas the MQM-P and the PML-N have awarded tickets to Shahid Nawaz and Jawed Khan respectively. Tariq Masood and Kachkol Muhammad are the respective candidates of the Rah-e-Haq Party and ANP. . The factors of multiple ethnicities and religious vote bank in the PS-89 are expected to influence the results.

In PS-90, a total of 18 candidates are in the field, including PPP's Abdul Razak Raja, MQM-P's Muhammad Parvez, PML-N's Shahid Iqbal Arain and ANP's Noor Nawaz Khan.

PPP leader Haji Muzafar Ali Shujra opted to contest PS-91 as an independent candidate after he was denied the ticket. Due to Shujra's departure and internal rifts in the PPP, the party may lose votes in the provincial constituency. Other candidates for PS-91 include MPM-P's Mumtaz Ali, MMA's Ahsanullah and ANP's Siraj Ahmed.


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