KARACHI: With less than 10 days left before the city votes for its next mayor on December 5, Karachi is abuzz with electioneering as political parties fill the streets and major thoroughfares with flags, banners and billboards. Across the city, the faces of prominent as well as little-known contestants stare down at passersby, accompanied by clichéd promises, political rhetoric and party manifestos.
One such poster has, however, kicked off a storm among the political circles. The poster, put up by the Jamaat-e-Islami candidates for UC-34 of Baldia in District West, bears the slogan 'Aao Badlen Karachi'. It has the names and pictures of JI and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidates contesting in UC-34 of Turk Colony.
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What has made this particular poster controversial, however, are the four pictures on the top right corner. They are mug shots of Mumtaz Qadri, Ghazi Ilm Din and Umar Cheema. The man in the fourth picture could not be identified, even by the JI's own leaders.
"All these people are conquerors (Ghazi) of good over bad and have given their lives for the love of religion," reasoned the JI spokesperson. "There is nothing wrong with these pictures and they have only been printed to motivate our voters," he added.
The poster has been printed by local candidates of UC-34, the JI's information secretary, Zahid Askari, told The Express Tribune.
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The poster has nothing to do with the ideology of JI and as the local body elections accords power to the grassroots, said Askari, adding that the poster in question has been published by the candidates of the area, who in turn have complete authority to print such material for their campaigns.
"The pictures are of people who have given their lives for the Islamic ideology, not of the Taliban," he said, dismissing the controversial nature of the poster.
Meanwhile, PTI's Karachi president Ali Zaidi said that there is no alliance of the JI and PTI on UC-34. When told that the poster claimed the contestants were combined nominees of both the JI and PTI, Zaidi dismissed it as a lie. "We are not in alliance with the JI on this particular UC, but I have still them to look into the matter," he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2015.
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