KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) Waseem Akhtar has been elected Karachi's mayor on Wednesday.
"Let bygones be bygones," said Akhtar while addressing media persons after the elections concluded.
"Its enough, we have fought enough and enough blood has been spilt, we need to stop that and we want to follow the guidelines of Jinnah."
Karachi's newly elected mayor vowed to work alongside other political parties to solve the issues facing the metropolis.
"I am not a mayor of MQM. I will work for Karachi, I am Karachi's mayor."
During his speech, Akhtar requested Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah to help and guide him.
Referring to DG Rangers, Akhtar reiterated his support for the ongoing operation in the city, and said "there are elements who want to derail peace of Karachi".
Akhtar, who was brought under heavy police escort to cast his vote, claimed all cases against him are politically motivated and there is no evidence against him.
Karachi's newly appointed mayor also claimed that if he brought cases pending against him to a court of law, he will be set free.
"Keep filling cases against me, I will face all of them," said Akhtar.
The newly appointed mayor requested the chief minister of the province to provide him an office with in the premises of his prison, to facilitate him in running the city's affairs from behind bars.
Polling in Karachi
Earlier, elections for the seats of mayor and deputy mayor, as well as chairman and vice chairman of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), along with other municipalities of Sindh went underway on Wednesday.
The power struggle convulsing the MQM notwithstanding, Waseem Akhtar, the party’s candidate for mayorship of Karachi, was expected to win the election and rewrite history, officials and the contesting political parties agreed.
Akhtar, who has been in prison since July 19 after an Anti-Terrorism Court dismissed his pre-arrest interim application in the terrorists’ treatment case, was brought under tight security to the KMC building to cast his vote.
Based on MQM's numerical strength in the KMC Council — 214 members out of the total 308 elected members — Akhtar’s victory in the mayoral election was a foregone conclusion.
Other major contenders for the Karachi polls included the PPP-led six-party alliance, particularly in the South and West DCs. Other parties of the alliance are: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam-Fazl and Awami National Party (ANP).
The MQM is likely to emerge victorious in the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) elections as well. The party has nominated Syed Tayyab Hussain for mayor and Sohail Mashhadi for deputy mayor’s slot. PPP has nominated Pasha Qazi and Hasan Ali Jatoi for the contest.
In Mirpurkhas, PPP’s Mir Anwar Talpur and Mir Ahmed Khan Talpur have won unopposed for the district council chairman and vice-chairman slots. The MQM has majority in the municipal committee, which comprises 51 votes.
In District South, the joint opposition parties had fielded Malik Fayyaz of PPP for chairman and PTI’s Mansoor Shaikh for vice chairman against the MQM’s Israd Ali and Parveen Begum.
In District West, the MQM had fielded Izharuddin as chairman and Gul Faraz Khan as vice chairman. The opposition alliance’s candidates are: PML-N’s Asif Khan and PTI’s Azizullah Afridi.
“More than 2,000 voters will elect mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice chairman for more than 100 municipal bodies of the 20 districts, including five of Karachi, across Sindh,” Tanvir Zaki, the provincial election commissioner earlier told Dawn.
“The deputy commissioners have assured us that they have arranged the required security in and outside the polling stations,” said Zaki, adding that police and Rangers had been entrusted with the task of maintaining peace during the proceedings.
Zaki said the election of mayor and deputy mayor for the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and chairman and vice chairman of the DMCs would be held separately – the head and the deputy of these municipal bodies.
However, on Karachi’s District Council (KDC) and the rest of Sindh, they would be held in pairs – a single vote will go to the head and the deputy.
There are two ‘pairs’ belonging to the PPP and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf as they are contesting against each other for the top slot in KDC.
There are nine districts where candidates have already won the elections unopposed ─ Sukkur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Jamshoro, Tando Muhammad Khan, Matiari, Sujawal, Thatta and Karachi Central.
Of the remaining 20 districts, ‘partial elections’ are being held on the municipal bodies of Khairpur and Thatta.
Officials in the ECP said elections in several municipalities of these districts were not being held because of court proceedings.
Tanvir Zaki, the election commissioner, said there were a total of 41 locations where polling stations had been established in the 20 districts.