KARACHI: With little enthusiasm among residents and cautious campaigns by political parties, except the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, over 800,000 registered voters of two National Assembly constituencies — NA-237 (Malir-II) and NA-239 (Korangi-I) — are set to exercise their democratic and constitutional right today (Sunday) in the by-elections.
There are 33 contesting candidates running for the seats of the lower house of the parliament.
The two National Assembly constituencies fell vacant after National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in July accepted the resignations of 11 MNAs belonging to the PTI.
The move de-seated two PTI MNAs from the respective constituencies — Jamil Ahmed Khan from NA-237 and Muhammad Akram Cheema from NA-239.
ECP finalises polling arrangements in NA-237, NA-239
Despite little campaigning by parties during the electioneering the by-elections become significant as they are going to happen only a week before the local bodies’ elections in the city, scheduled to be held on October 23.
All arrangements finalised by ECP
The Election Commission of Pakistan has claimed to have completed all arrangements for the today’s by-elections.
It says that more 6,000 policemen will be deployed for security of the daylong voting exercise in two constituencies. According to the ECP, the police force will be deployed as the primary source of security while troops of Pakistan Army and paramilitary forces will be there on standby as quick response force to maintain law and order and maintain peace during the day of voting.
In NA-239, a total of 581,888 people would exercise their voting rights on Sunday at 340 polling stations across the constituency, which consists of 12 union committees and a ward of the Cantonment Board.
The Urdu-speaking dominated constituency includes parts of Shah Faisal Colony, Model Colony, Saudabad and Al-Falah Housing Society.
With a total of 22 aspirants running for the polls, the key contest is likely among PTI chief Imran Khan, Nayyar Raza of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) and Muhammad Yasin of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
The constituency comprises Model Colony and Shah Faisal sub-divisions. Two provincial assembly seats — PS-92 and PS-93 — and half of the third provincial assembly constituency, PS-98, fall in NA-239.
The National Assembly constituency includes neighbourhoods of Shah Faisal Colony, Millat Colony, Natha Khan, Green Town, Al-Falah Society, Golden Town, Azeempura, Shamsi Society, Gulshan-i-Ghazali, Salman Terrace, Security Printing Press, Model Colony, PAF Base Camp, Air Force Housing Society, Old Iqbalabad, Pak Kausar Town, Saudabad, Indus Mehran and Malir Colony. The constituency also comprises the Faisal Cantonment. Its other areas are: Saudia Colony, Madina Colony, Jinnah Square, Jinnah Colony, Khokhrapar, Bilawal Colony, Lal Quarters, Sajjan Goth and Muzaffarabad.
In NA-237 of Malir district, although 13 aspirants are contesting the by-election, many see a key contest between PTI chief Imran Khan and PPP candidate Abdul Hakeem Baloch on the day of polling.
The constituency with much larger area and lesser number of votes would witness almost 300,000 registered voters exercising their rights at some 200 polling stations.
The provincial assembly seats under the constituency —– PS-87 and PS-88 — are enjoyed by the PPP on the back of its historical grip in the area that largely covers rural Malir and city outskirts.
Although Mr Baloch of the PPP enjoyed a smooth sailing in past elections despite his unstable political history, this time many see PTI chief as favourite on recent wave of popularity following his ouster from the PM office through vote of no confidence.
In 2013, Mr Baloch was returned as MNA from NA-258 constituency on a ticket of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Three years later, he quit the PML-N, resigned from his seat and contested the elections and won the by-polls from the platform of the PPP.
In 2018 elections, the NA-237 was carved out of areas in rural Malir, which were earlier part of old NA-256 and NA-257 constituencies.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2022