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Pyrrhic victory? The battle for NA-250

Published May 21, 2013 05:05am

OUT of all the constituencies in the country where allegations of mismanagement emerged during the general elections, Karachi’s NA-250 was probably the most high-profile. Irregularities and a lack of staff at numerous polling stations on election day led the Election Commission of Pakistan to order re-polling in 43 stations of the constituency on May 19. But the re-polling process has been controversial for various reasons. On Saturday, PTI leader Zahra Shahid Hussain was gunned down outside her DHA home, which spread fear in the area and contributed to the low turnout on Sunday. Also, the MQM, which wanted re-polling in the entire constituency, boycotted the process, as did the PPP, JI and some others. So it is something of a pyrrhic victory for Dr Arif Alvi, the only PTI candidate to win a National Assembly seat from Sindh as per unofficial results.

Two issues must be considered; the question of re-polling as well as the murder allegations levelled by the PTI against the MQM in Zahra Shahid Hussain’s case. The PTI should have agreed to re-polling in the entire constituency especially when the ECP had agreed to the deployment of army personnel inside the polling stations. That way, if other parties had still been in the field a victory would have been more convincing, while it would have strengthened the PTI’s demands for re-polling in other Karachi constituencies where the party polled a significant number of votes. Regarding the murder of Ms Hussain, it was premature and ill-advised for Imran Khan to blame Altaf Hussain for the killing before any investigation had been conducted, especially in such a charged atmosphere. Hence the MQM’s criticism of the PTI chief’s remarks seems justified. But the MQM had also raised the temperature earlier by allegedly threatening the PTI and hurling personal abuses at Imran Khan. Ms Hussain’s murder, which police have termed a targeted killing, needs to be fully in-vestigated; in the meantime, all parties must show restraint, accept the results and move forward with the political process.

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Comments (19) Closed

May 22, 2013 04:43am
PTI was threatened. Mrs. Hussain murdered. Does'ent it look as plain as the nose on the face.
May 21, 2013 07:20pm
very well written..totally agree
May 21, 2013 07:17pm
with due respect why PTI is now only focused on so called rigging in Karachi whereas protests have been called off in Punjab...surely some thing fishy?????????
May 21, 2013 06:56pm
Stop the presses! This Gentleman has figured out an ingenious way to ensure that fake votes do not get cast. Simply add the votes up for each candidate and compare the sum to the total number of available voters in the constituency. If the sum is greater than the total number of available voters, then there must have been irregularities in the voting process! Can someone please pass this along to the ECP???!! We may need to conduct nationwide repolling now!
May 21, 2013 06:45pm
Dawn's own article in Monday's Metro shows clearly that PTI won fair and square. NA 250 was PTI's from Day 1.
Citizen of Karachi
May 21, 2013 05:18pm
Thy mystery of the never previously reported 51,000 votes polled by alvi on 11th May is yet to be explained convincingly. Before yesterday, this figure was never heard of. This is a sham victory, if there ever was one and only proves that PTI is aspiring to be an english language version of mqm though minus the grassroots support snd a history of service which is the pedigree of mqm.
May 21, 2013 04:19am
Imran Khan and Maturity are two far and opposite ends of the pole!!
Fahim Mirza
May 21, 2013 01:00pm
Even if you ignore the votes in 43 polling stations PTI will still win in the majority of polling stations that everyone participated. These 43 polling stations were known to be PTI strong hold. Second, PTI did ask for re-polling of entire Karachi as well as all polling stations for this assembly seat. If MQM was confident in winning this seat they would have participated in this re-poll.
May 21, 2013 11:25am
As per ECP below link, total voter in NA250 are 365531. Just download the excel sheet for NA-250. You will get all register voters agaisnt each polling station. Kindly avoid wrong facts pasting.
May 21, 2013 10:58am
PTI won NA-250 by getting 77,659 votes whereas in 2008 MQM had won this seat by securing only 52,045 votes and MMA in 2002 with 21,462 votes. Which is a phenomenal achievement considering the low turnout of 35.48% due to law and order situation. But a biased media is only busy pointing out lower turnout in some of the 43 polling stations without highlighting that it was due to the murder of PTI leader the night before and open voter intimidation by MQM. Announcements were made warning of consequence if anyone voted and forcing shops to shut down the night before as well as firing in some areas including Hyderabad the previous day.
Ghalib Khan
May 21, 2013 08:55am
Karachi has become like a cake, Everybody wants a lion share of it, Interestingly most of the people talking about my city are the people who do not know anything about it. The new government have to understand nobody runs Karachi it runs itself, just give it Peace, Security and if possible Electricity and water and it will give you results beyond your imagination. The past experience shows who ever has tried to destroy Karachi, has never succeeded but ended up falling flat on his face.
ali ahmed
May 21, 2013 04:10am
the total votes in NA250 was 86316..according to result announced y EC..PTI got 77659,MQM got 30365 and JI candidates got votes cast 119713 and there was low turnout on 19 May,now the question is from where this 33397 votes came if we assumed voting was 100%..who stuffed the box EC,Rangers or Mr was reported that Dr. Alvi was seen carrying ballot box with the help of Rangers..but unfortunately media is silent..robbing of mandate is not in the interest of the country
May 21, 2013 04:38am
the editor seems to be living in a fools paradise!! what investigations?
Ali Ahmed Khan
May 21, 2013 05:14am
It appears that the leaders of both the parties were afraid to lose. MQM ,boycotted the polling as face saving device, but that proved to be more of face hiding than face saving. Imran Khan was not prepared to take any risk, as polling on other stations might have gone against his wishes.
The Power of Reason
May 21, 2013 06:15am
Thank you Dawn for hitting the bull's eye. As has been commented by other impartial observers as well, this victory (if it does ever get declared officially) would be both both hollow and pyrrhic. The worst thing that has happened and which would be regretted by PTI's leadership for a long time to come is the loss of innocence it has suffered in the process. Karachi was ripe to welcome a viable rival to MQM and PTI had made significant inroads in the current elections. They could have built up on it and presented an urban revival agenda to Karachiites in the run up to local elections which should be round the corner. By clinging to a single seat on flimsy grounds, finally conducted under the shadows of military, they have jettisoned the moral victory they might have won either by accepting their defeat graciously or by picking up MQM's challenge to repoll the whole constituency. It appears to have drowned in the din of its own propaganda propelled by social media. Unfortunately, it appears that it will be a while before PTI develops the right amount of political acumen to win over the hearts and souls of Karachiites.
Awais Tanveer (@4awais)
May 21, 2013 06:28am
"Change" indeed gets resisted by people. Even this editorial not calling spade a spade. What I get on media these days is an impression to forgive riggers in the name of "showing maturity" and national interest.
May 22, 2013 04:50am
It is difficult to say exactly what choices PTI had since some sources say that they did not oppose re-polling in the whole constituency while others contradict this. In any case, the better option would have been to join the other parties in boycotting the partial re-polling and demand re-polling for the whole city. Even if that meant not obtaining a single seat. After all it is the ideology which is PTI's X factor.
May 22, 2013 06:46pm
PTi will prove otherwise. It is a national party with positive change as its goal. The NA 250 election was not a sham. And for your information PTI believes in and will implement a uniform system of education. Furthermore it believes in local bodies.
Another Karachiite
May 22, 2013 08:33pm
PTI is the non-violent version of MQM, let's be honest the MQM is known to resort to violence to achieve their political aims. When fighting corruption,feudalism, and quotas I was with the MQM. However Karachiites now have a more respectable, non-violent alternative to the MQM

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