KARACHI: With less than two weeks left in the Karachi mayoral election, the war of words between two leading contesting parties for the key municipal office intensified on Saturday when the Jamaat-i-Islami having a majority in terms of numbers after allying with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf warned the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party against imposing a ‘jiyala mayor’ on Karachiites by use of ‘undemocratic’ means.
The ruling party, on the other hand, despite lacking numbers to win majority in the City Council sounded confident about the June 15 mayoral elections. Responding immediately, the PPP asked its political opponents to accept its recent victory in the local government elections held in the city.
First it was JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, the party candidate for the mayor slot, who accused the PPP of ‘using undemocratic means’ to bring in its city mayor without having a majority in the City Council.
With 193 votes after gaining support of the PTI for the mayor election, the JI said the party had crossed the number of votes needed to win the mayor election.
Ghani sounds confident in bringing jiyala mayor, while Hafiz Naeem claims ‘clear majority’ in City Council
“We have 193 votes with the support of the PTI; whereas the required number of votes for victory is 180,” said Hafiz Naeem, who recently called on PTI chairman Imran Khan in Lahore and sought his support in the mayoral election.
“On the other hand, the PPP has admitted that if all the coalition partners voted for the PPP, they could only have 166 votes in total. How can they bring mayor? Would they buy votes? Would they harass the voters? Would they use state machinery or abuse the power? Is this a democracy of People’s Party?”
The JI leader also questioned the role of Election Commission of Pakistan accusing it of “dancing to the tune of the PPP” and demanded proactive role of the constitutional body for the upcoming mayoral election.
Reacting to the JI statement, Sindh Labour and Human Resources Minister Saeed Ghani said that he was a political activist from Karachi who ‘knew very well’ the problems of the people of the city.
“Hafiz Naeem has repeatedly been addressing press conferences these days as if he has already assumed the office of Karachi mayor,” he quipped.
“The PPP has expressed serious reservations about the process of population census held in Sindh. The city of Karachi is the heart of Sindh and we will not allow anyone to do injustice to the province,” he said, adding: “Our political opponents are not ready to accept our victory in the local government elections held in the city recently in which we have emerged as the single largest party in Karachi.”
Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2023