KARACHI: The city witnessed major upsets in Wednesday’s general elections, after decades of ‘traditional’ results, which were surrounded by controversies and questions.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf emerged as the leading party from the metropolis, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) suffered its worst-ever defeat, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) tasted defeat in its stronghold of Lyari and the electoral launch of Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) turned into a disaster.
Apart from the mainstream and ‘favourite’ parties, Wednesday’s polls offered a way for new entrants into parliament like the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan which surprised many by winning at least two provincial assembly seats from Karachi.
‘Traditional’ winners of Karachi’s electoral contests face major setbacks; PTI emerges as big winner from city
Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s (MMA) Abdul Rasheed proved the analysis of many true, who declared him a “much deserved contestant” to win the provincial assembly seat PS-108 from the city’s old neighbourhood of Lyari, denting PPP’s hopes.
Despite protests and allegations from major contesting parties, the election results of Karachi came as a surprise for many. The winning candidates claimed that the mainstream parties had apparently “failed to deliver” and meet people’s expectations.
But those who cried foul had reasons to believe so and raised questions.
“Our polling agents were thrown out of several polling stations in the constituency and they kept running from pillar to post to get the results without success,” said Senator Yousuf Baloch, chief polling agent of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari from NA-246, where he lost to a PTI candidate.
“The results of the majority of the polling stations were not provided to us which raises severe questions over performance, credibility and impartiality of the ECP,” he added.
MQM’s Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui criticised the elections in even stronger terms and called them “unfair and rigged”, rejecting the results despite winning his National Assembly seat from NA-255.
Addressing a press conference, he said it was the “worst-ever rigging” in urban Sindh where ballot boxes were stuffed with votes for the “blue-eyed candidates” after the polling time.
Interestingly, the PSP blamed the “process” after end of polling time as the prime reason for their defeat.
The leaders of the party said they were denied due rights during the polls, their agents were not given access to the counting process and they were still kept in the dark about the final results.
“The situation puts a question mark on the overall electoral process which should be investigated. We still don’t know where the final decision was made,” said PSP leader Dr Sagheer Ahmed during a press conference at the party’s headquarters.
Apart from the PTI, however, those who won the election surprisingly called it a reaction and anger of the Karachiites against the traditional parties and corruption, bad governance and deteriorating civic structure of the city.
“We were present for the people round the clock,” said MMA’s Abdul Rasheed who emerged victorious from PS-108.
“The ruling party — PPP — enjoyed the power only but failed to deliver. They turned our area and the entire city into a garbage dump. We, on the other hand, raised voice for the rights of our people and stood by them through thick and thin. That’s why they posed confidence in us and voted for us,” he concluded.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2018