KARACHI: With the blessing of their high command, the local leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) made a deal with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement enabling the latter to grab the top slot in Karachi’s South district, it emerged on Sunday.

No party, not even the Pakistan Peoples Party, got a simple majority in the Dec 5 local government election in South district. The MQM had emerged as the single-largest party as it claimed to have won 11 union committees in the 31-UC district, followed by the PPP (seven) and PML-N (four).

The Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and some independent candidates also won elections on some UCs in the district.

The MQM had already got support of two independents but it was still short of three votes for a simple majority (16 votes) to get the post of DMC-South chairman.

District president of PML-N Sultan Bahadur Khan told Dawn that the central leadership of his party had allowed him to hold dialogue with the MQM about having an alliance in South district.

He said he with other leaders held negotiations with the MQM and finalised an agreement, whereby the district chairman would go to the MQM and the PML-N would get the position of vice chairman of the district municipal corporation-South.

Mr Khan confirmed that all the four UCs the PML-N had won in the Dec 5 elections were in Lyari, once considered a PPP stronghold.

The PPP tried its best to get the support from other parties minus the MQM but the PML-N-MQM deal dashed all its hopes to claim South district’s top slot.

“We held several meetings with the PPP, but nothing concrete could be achieved,” said Mr Khan of the PML-N. “On the other hand, we and the MQM agreed on a formula through which we will get our share in the indirectly elected seats of councillors.” He said the MQM-PML-N deal was only for South district.

Meanwhile, an MQM statement said that Sultan Bahadur Khan and Raja Saeed, the president and general secretary of PML-N’s South chapter, respectively, met MQM leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel at the MQM’s district South office on Saturday.

“The meeting decided that the DMC-South chairman would be from the MQM and the vice chairman would be the PML-N candidate . A written agreement was also signed by the two sides,” it added.

The names of chairman or vice chairman were not made public by both parties.

Of the 209 union committees of the metropolis, the MQM won 135 UCs and it is in a position to get elected Karachi mayor and deputy mayor without entering into an alliance with any party.

It also has a comfortable majority in Central, Korangi, East and West districts to get the post of chairman of each DMC. South district would be the fifth district of Karachi where the MQM would bring its chairman.

Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2015