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KARACHI, Sept 13: A total of 12 candidates filed nomination papers for the city nazim’s slot, the most sought-after office of Karachi city district government, till 8pm on Tuesday, the last day for filing nomination papers for the third and final phase of local body elections.

According to the election schedule, Sept 12 and 13 (Monday and Tuesday) were fixed for filing nomination papers for nazim of CDGK and for reserved seats of women, peasants and workers and minorities in the city district council and 18 town councils.

Returning Officer Syed Saeed Hasan received a total of 326 nomination papers during the last two days.

According to the break-up provided by the provincial election commission, 174 aspirants are in the field for 59 seats reserved for women; 95 candidates are vying for nine seats of workers / peasants; and 45 candidates for nine minority seats.

The main contest will be between the candidates of Haq Parast group and Karachi Shehri Ittehad, the group supported by the combined opposition alliance.

From the Haq Parast group, four candidates who have filed nomination papers included Sindh Minister for Information Technology Syed Mustafa Kamal, Advisor to the chief minister on Excise and Taxation M A Jalil, Advisor to the chief minister on Local Government Waseem Akhtar, Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Khan Ghauri.

Syed Mustafa Kamal was the first and the only candidate for the nazim’s slot who sub-mitted papers on Monday while the other Haq Parast nominees filed their papers on Tuesday.

On behalf of the Shehri Ittehad, nomination papers of former nazim Niamatullah Khan were filed on Tuesday.

Muslim Pervez has also filed papers on behalf of Shehri Ittehad as a covering candidate for Naimatullah Khan. Habibuddin Junedi and Fouzia Wahab have filed their papers as nominees of Awam Dost group while Khwaja Tariq Nazeer and Syed Zahid Ali of Watan Nawaz group and Rizwan Ikram and Dr Mohammad Hanif have filed papers as independent candidates.

Mr Niamatullah Khan, who reached the city court with other Jamat-i-Islami leaders, appeared optimistic about his victory despite being short of expected seats in the 178 UCs elections.

Mr Khan evaded a direct reply when asked about the total strength of councillors supporting him, and said that all those elected nazims and councillors of the union councils in the city district who wanted to see development in Karachi were his supporters and they would vote for him.

However, observers are of the view that in the electoral college, comprising 2,314 nazims and councillors in 178 union councils, Haq Parast group has solid support of more than 850 councillors and nazims.

It also enjoys backing of about 200 councillors and nazims from the Khushal Pakistan group while the Shehri Ittehad has reportedly mustered support of an equal number of councillors from different opposition groups.

If this analysis is taken seriously, the decisive votes remain with the independents and community-based groups whose strength is stated to be around 200.

To win the CDGK nazim’s seat, a candidate would require at least 1,158 votes from the electoral college, comprising 2,314 voters if the turnout is 100 per cent.

According to the election schedule, the provisional list of candidates would be issued on Sept 14; objections would be received on Sept 15; scrutiny of the papers will be held on Sept 16 and appeals can be filed by Sept 18 as offices of the returning officer would remain open.

The disposal of appeals would be completed on Sept 20 and candidates can withdraw their papers by Sept 21.

The final list of candidates, with their election symbols, would be officially published on Sept 22 and polling would be held on Oct 6.

The Election Commission would announce the official results on Oct 10.