KARACHI: More than 300 candidates, mostly fielded by six major parties, are set to contest the upcoming local government elections in six cantonment boards of Karachi, where nearly half a million voters would cast their votes on Sept 12.
With 42 wards in all the six cantonment boards — Clifton, Malir, Faisal, Karachi, Korangi and Manora — in the metropolis, around 451,000 voters would elect their representatives from among different political parties.
In terms of area and population, Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) is the biggest cantonment in the city having population of 305,938 people, 10 wards and 190,280 registered voters.
The Cantonment Board Faisal (CBF) is the second largest cantonment with the population of 296,469 people, 10 wards and 159,983 registered voters.
Similarly, the Cantonment Board Malir also possesses 10 wards with the population of 139,052 including 33,895 registered voters. The Karachi and Korangi cantonment boards have five wards each with the population of 68,877 and 57,745 people, respectively.
Polling to be held on Sept 12; most candidates belong to six major political parties
The number of registered voters in Karachi Cantt is 43,104 while Korangi has 21,187 voters.
The Cantonment Board Manora is the smallest cantonment in terms of population, wards and registered voters. The island town has two wards for 5,874 people of them 3,544 are registered voters.
Parties hopeful of giving good performance
Major political parties contesting the election are Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The PTI and PPP have fielded candidates for all the 42 wards followed by JI and MQM-P contesting on 38 and 33 seats, respectively.
“The PTI is hopeful of winning the cantonment board’s elections,” said PTI’s city president MPA Khurram Sher Zaman. “The best candidates from each cantonment board have been selected. The PTI has proved its services to Karachi. Our members of the National Assembly spent Rs9.90 billion from the funds of Prime Minister Imran Khan to solve public problems in the streets of Karachi. The Sindh government on the other hand has failed to deliver to the people of Karachi.”
However, his political rival and PPP’s city president Saeed Ghani is confident of giving a “surprise” to his opponents.
Mr Ghani, who is also the provincial information and labour minister, said that the PPP would emerge the majority party in the upcoming cantonment elections and it would continue the same trend in the LG elections in the city.
“The people of Karachi whether they live in cantonment areas or other parts of this city know well who can solve their problems,” he said. “The PPP Sindh government has completed record development projects for this city despite zero support from the centre. We believe in a transparent and democratic process of elections and rely solely on the power of votes.”
JI’s city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rahman rejected the claims of both the ruling parties at the centre and province. He cited cases of corruption and wrongdoings as the true reflection of the performance of the two different ruling parties.
“All the political parties in Karachi other than the JI are not capable to deliver because of corruption in their ranks and history,” he said. “Our candidates in their constituencies are known for their honesty and character. This city has the potential to lead the economy of this country and for this role it only needs honest and dedicated leadership.”
The MQM-P also labelled the PPP’s Sindh government as a failure and sounded confident about the results of the cantonment board elections in its favour.
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that his party due to its strong organisational structure knew the city and its problem better than any other party. “The MQM-P has a history of resolving the city’s problems and giving it the best infrastructure. We have a very clear and long-term plan to redevelop this city,” he said.
The prospects of the PML-N, which has a history of winning seats in Karachi’s cantonment board elections, however seem uncertain after infighting within the party.
Senior party leader Miftah Ismail has recently resigned over growing differences within the opposition party, which had lately led to “threats and personal attacks” on him after disagreement over distribution of party tickets for the cantonment board elections in Karachi.
“But despite this bitter episode, we are in the field and our candidates are making their best efforts for the elections. We are very much hopeful of good results,” said a party leader.
Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2021