KARACHI: Over eight million voters in Karachi will help decide the fate of three aspirants for the office of prime minister — Pakistan Peoples Party chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif — as well as of 343 other candidates, who are in the run for the 21 National Assembly seats in the metropolis, on Wednesday (today).
Karachi has a total of six districts and the number of voters in Central district is 1,860,137; East (1,436,109); South (1,080,652); West (1,660,057); Korangi (1,318,705) and Malir (751,526).
Besides the three chiefs of as many mainstream parties, the head of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Mustafa Kamal are also contesting elections on NA-255 and NA-253, respectively.
Seven party chiefs, including Imran, Shahbaz and Bilawal, are among 346 aspirants for city’s 21 NA seats
Also the chairman of Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi, Afaq Ahmed, is contesting elections from two NA constituencies, NA-240 and NA-254.
The chief of the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, Sarwat Ejaz Qadri, is also in the run from NA-253.
Although Mr Bhutto-Zardari, Mr Khan and Mr Sharif are also contesting elections from other constituencies, their decision to enter Karachi’s electoral arena is more of a symbolic nature.
PTI chairman Khan is contesting election from NA-243, Karachi-East, where he will face MQM-P’s Ali Raza Abidi and PPP’s Syeda Shehla Raza as his main rivals.
PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif is in the run from NA-249, Karachi-West, and he will face PTI’s Faisal Vawda, MQM-P’s Aslam Shah Afridi and PPP’s Qadir Khan Mandokhel.
The young Bhutto-Zardari is contesting his first election from PPP’s traditional stronghold of Lyari. Dubbed as a one-sided contest, the PPP chairman will face Mehfooz Yar Kahn of the MQM-P, Saleem Zia of the PML-N and Abdul Shakoor Shad of the PTI from NA-246, Karachi-South.
PSP chairman Kamal is contesting election from NA-253, Karachi-Central, and he is facing MQM-P’s Usama Qadri. He is also contesting elections from two provincial assembly seats in the city.
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui is contesting from NA-255, Karachi-Central, against PSP’s Mustafa Jameel Rathore.
Senior MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar is also in the run from two NA constituencies — NA-245, Karachi-East and NA-247, Karachi-South.
There are a total of 44 provincial assembly seats in Karachi, but the election would not be held on one seat — PS-87 — because of the death of a candidate. For 43 PS seat, around 900 candidates are in the field.
The total number of voters in Sindh is 22,391,244 including 12,436,844 male and 9,954,400 female voters.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, there are total 3,052 candidates in the run for 61 NA seats in the province.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2018