KARACHI: NA-239 is the first of the three National Assembly Constituencies of District Korangi, the newest district of the city that was created in 2013.
Localities falling in NA-239 include Shah Faisal Colony, Millat Colony, Natha Khan Goth, alFalah Society, Golden Town, Azeem Pura, Shamsi Society, Gulshan-e-Ghazali, Model Colony, Jafar Bagh Colony Malir, Gulshan-e-Jami Malir, parts of Faisal Cantonment, Saudabad, Sajan Goth, Aleemabad, Kala Board, Christian Colony, Jinnah Square, Khokhrapar and other areas.
Many areas in the constituency, including Green Town, Model Colony and Saudabad, were once a battlefield where various political and ethnic groups frequently clashed. There were many ‘no go areas’ that were allegedly controlled by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement or Muhajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H). However, the memories of violence have been fading away and the constituency is relatively peaceful now.
The constituency also houses the Security Printing Press, where currency notes and other sensitive documents are printed. The ballot papers for the upcoming general elections are also being printed here.
Many localities in the constituency have been suffering from water shortage, poor sanitation, lack of parks and dilapidated streets. There is also a lack of government and private hospitals in NA-239 due to which its residents often have to travel to other areas of the city to receive treatment.
In terms of educational institutes, the constituency fares better than some other constituencies of the city. Apart from several other private and public schools and colleges, there are seven girls’ colleges in NA-239.
As many as 19 candidates are in the run for the NA-239 seat. They include Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Sohail Mansoor Khawaja, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Rana Muhammad Ahsan, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Syed Imran Haider Abidi, Pak Sarzameen Party’s (PSP) Nadeem Razi, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Muhammad Akram Cheema and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s (MMA) Haleem Khan Ghauri. There are also a couple of independent candidates vying for the seat.
As per the details of assets submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the MQM-P candidate is the richest. Khawaja has been elected twice from a former constituency of Karachi, NA-240, that fell in District West.
According to political analysts, the prospects of the MQM-P’s victory appear high in NA-230, despite the fact that it is no longer associated with its founder Altaf Hussain. The PSP, which can also be considered an off-shoot of the MQM, also does not appear to be threatening the MQM-P.
The split of the MQM vote bank, however, may benefit other parties in provincial seats falling under NA-239, which are PS-92, PS-93 and PS-98.
As many as 20 candidates are running for PS-92. They include MQM-P’s Muhammad Hussain, PSP’s Abdul Jaleel, PTI’s Abid Jillani, MMA’s Muhammad Farooq, PPP’s Shahid Khursheed Rana, MQM-H’s Rida Asim and others.
In PS-93, a total of 19 candidates are in the field. The MQM-P has awarded its ticket to Hameeduz Zafar, whereas, the PSP, PTI and PPP have fielded Ashfaq Mangi, Waqas Iqbal and Sajjad Haider respectively. Shahnawaz is representing the MQM-H and Taufiquddin Siddiqui the MMA. Candidates of the PML-N, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and Pakistan Sunni Tehreek are also in the contest. Masood Mehmood is the MQM-P candidate in PS-98 where a total of 21 candidates are in the fray. The PSP has fielded Yasiruddin, the PTI Adeel Ahmed, the PPP Muhammad Haroon Khan and the MMA Abdul Haq Usmani. The MQM-H’s candidate in PS-98 is Syed Mehmood Zahoor while the Awami National Party and GDA have awarded tickets to Bahri Kamal and Fahmida Zahir respectively.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2018.