KARACHI: With some new players in the field, leaders and members of major political and religious parties in the country have filed their nomination papers to contest the May 11 general elections from Karachi during a weeklong exercise that ended on Sunday.
However, except the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Jamaat-i-Islami, it appears that no other party found candidates or was not intending to contest elections from all 20 National Assembly and 42 provincial assembly seats in Karachi.
Even Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, the Awami National Party and so much so the PPP and the PML-N are among those parties which leave many NA and PA constituencies without fielding their candidates.
So far, every political and religious party have multiple candidates on each NA and PA seat in the city as covering candidates. The situation would become clear on April 18, which is the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers, and on the following day, April 19, when a final list of candidates would be released by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
As a matter of its election strategy, the MQM fielded at least five candidates for each NA and PA seat in Karachi in the first phase of filing of nomination papers. The JI also fielded two candidates for each constituency as its main and covering candidate.
Several known faces are in the run and prominent among them is former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, who filed his nomination from NA-250 (Defence-Clifton). The MQM’s Khushbakht Shujaat, Dr Farooq Sattar, Faisal Subzwari, JI’s Niamatullhan Khan, PPP’s Rashid Rabbani, PTI’s Arif Alvi, PML-N’s Salim Zia and Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, the elder sister of Aafia Siddiqui, have also submitted their nomination papers from this constituency.
While the PPP fielded candidates on over 50 per cent of the total 62 NA and PA seats in Karachi, its Abdul Qadir Patel, Shahjahan Baloch and Rashid Rabbani are the prominent candidates who are going to contest elections from NA-239 (Keamri), NA-248 (Lyari) and NA-250 seats. In the 2008 general elections, Mr Patel had bagged NA-239, PPP’s Nabil Gabol won NA-248 and Sher Mohammad Baloch had emerged victorious from NA-258 (Malir). The PPP had won six PA seats in the last general elections.
Nabil Gabol, who recently quit the PPP and joined the MQM, also filed his nomination papers from NA-246 (Federal B Area), NA-248 (Lyari) and a PA constituency. Other prominent MQM candidates are Dr Farooq Sattar, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Waseem Akhtar, Khushbakht Shujaat, Aamir Khan, who filed multiple candidatures on various NA seats. The MQM bagged 17 NA seats and 34 PA seats in the 2008 general elections.
Likewise, the JI also fielded former Karachi nazim Niamatullah Khan, Mairajul Huda Siddiqui, Asadullah Bhutto, Muhammad Hussain Mehnti and others on NA and PA seats in Karachi. The JI had secured about a dozen NA and PA seats in 2002 while contesting the general elections from the platform of a six-party alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA).
The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl filed nomination papers from 10 NA and 25 PA seats in Karachi. Qari Usman of the JUI-F has filed nominations from NA-239 (Keamri) and NA-240 (Baldia-Pak Colony). The JUI-F’s Qari Gul Rehman had won the 2002 general elections from NA-239 from the platform of the MMA.
The Mohajir Qaumi Movement, commonly known as the MQM-Haqiqi, also fielded its candidates on nine NA and 13 PA seats in Karachi. For the first time, MQM-H chairman Afaq Ahmed also filed his candidature from two NA seats – NA-255 (Landhi) and NA-251. The MQM-H had become a parliamentary party in the 2002 general elections when it won an NA seat (NA-255) and a PA seat.
The ANP is contesting elections on 14 NA and 24 PA seats in the city. Its prominent candidate is the party’s Sindh secretary-general Bashir Jan, who filed papers from PS-93, the constituency from where the ANP’s Amir Nawab had emerged victorious in the 2008 general elections. The ANP had secured two PA seats in the last general elections.
Except Dr Arif Alvi, no prominent figure of the PTI is contesting elections from Karachi. Neither Imran Khan nor Shah Mehmood Qureshi or Javed Hashmi filed nomination papers from Karachi. However, less known candidates have filed their candidatures from various NA and PA seats. The PTI had contested the 2002 general elections and won no seat. The party had boycotted the 2008 general elections.
Similarly, the PML-N is also contesting elections from Karachi but not from all 62 NA and PA seats. Prominent candidates are Nihal Hashmi, Salim Zia, Irfanullah Marwat and some others. The PML-N did not win any seat during the 2002 and 2008 general elections in Karachi.
A new entrant to the electoral arena is the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen. It has announced fielding candidates on 11 NA and 10 PA seats in Karachi’s Shia-dominated areas.
The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat is also taking part in the elections from the platform of a multi-party alliance, the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz, and fielded candidates on five NA and 16 PA seats in Karachi. The MDM is an alliance of the JUI-S, JUI-Nazriati, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (Swad-i-Azam), ASWJ, Jamiat Ahle Hadis (Ibtisam Illahi) and Pakistan Rah-i-Haq Party.
PPP-Shaheed Bhutto chairperson Ghinwa Bhutoo also filed her nomination forms on two NA and one PA seats in Karachi. She filed nomination from NA-248 (Lyari) and NA-252 (Malir) and PS-108 constituencies.
The PML-Functional, the Pakistan Sunni Tehrik, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan and some other parties have also filed nomination papers.