PPP attend an election campaign rally in Karachi on February 5, 2024. — AFP

Disquiet on Karachi’s western front: Orangi a tough battle to win

More than 250 candidates are in the run for District West’s 3 NA and 6 PA seats.
Published February 6, 2024

WITH total population of more than 2.67 million, Karachi’s West district can be described as a mini ‘metropolitan city’.

From diverse cultures to multiple ethnic communities, the district is home to people from all across Pakistan who have settled here over the years and become part of the city population, its culture and economy.

One of the country’s most populated areas, Orangi Town, is located in this district, which is also counted among the well-known low-income neighbourhoods of the region.

Here prominent areas include parts of Mauripur, some parts of Baldia Town, SITE, Mominabad, Orangi Town, and Manghopir sub-divisions.

More than 250 candidates are in the run on district West’s three NA and six PA seats

It is widely believed that one of the closest electoral battles will be fought here during the 2024 general elections as people from a diverse range of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds in the district will exercise their democratic right of franchise on February 8.

With three constituencies of National Assembly and six of Sindh Assembly, the district is home to 1.46 million registered voters, who are facing a great many daily-life challenges, from ruined and badly neglected infrastructure to a severe electricity crisis and from the menace of growing street crime to an extreme shortage of healthcare facilities.

The people of the densely populated district have strong reasons to feel frustrated as count themselves among the deprived segments of the metropolis.

The district’s most populated neighbourhood, Orangi Town, is home to mostly Urdu speaking communities with a large portion comprising the Bihari community. The Bihari have settled here after the fall of Dhaka in 1971.

One of the five largest slums in the world, a large part and population of Orangi Town is undocumented despite living here for years. One of the basic problems of Orangi Town residents is to get their Pakistani nationality recognised and obtain the Computerised National Identity Card.

Other major locality includes Baldia Town, which is home to people from different ethnic groups.

The other neighbourhoods like Banaras and SITE are largely Pakhtoon-dominated areas.

In 2020, under the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) government, the district was cut short in terms of its geography and a new district named Keamari was created after splitting district West.

Here on three National Assembly seats — NA-244, NA-245 and NA-246 — and six seats of Sindh Assembly — PS-116, PS-117, PS-118, PS-119, PS-120 and PS-121 — more than 250 candidates are contesting.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-backed independent candidates and those of associated with PPP, Jamaat-i-Islami and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan are among the frontrunners.


This is a huge constituency in terms of area. It stretches from Gulshan-i-Maymar to Surjani Town, but least in terms of registered voters when compared to two other constituencies of the National Assembly in the district.

The main areas of the constituency include Gulshan-i-Maymar, Surjani Town, Khuda Ki Basti, Taiser Town and parts of Manghopir with a number of Goths spread over the constituency, including Qalandarani Goth, Abdullah Goth, Gulshan-i-Maymar Goth, Gulshan-i-Tauheed, Manghopir, Ghazi Goth and Hazratabad.

In the past several elections the MQM enjoyed a history of winning from the constituency. However, it faced a setback in 2018 when Aftab Jehangir of PTI emerged as victorious with more than 21,000 votes.

Before the fresh delimitation, the constituency was numbered as NA-252 in the 2018 polls.

For the upcoming Feb 8 polls, Mr Jehangir is contesting again from the constituency as an independent candidate while MQM-P has fielded its senior leader Dr Farooq Sattar from the constituency facing Irfan Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami and Abdul Barr of PPP.


This constituency is split between parts of Orangi Town and Manghopir.

The prominent areas in the constituency include Manghopir, Islamia Colony, Muhammadpur, MPR Colony, Baloch Goth, Qasba Colony, Aligarh (Orangi Town), Data Nagar, Sectors 8, 9 and 12-L of Orangi Town.

The constituency was won by PTI in 2018 polls when its candidate Attaullah Khan emerged as victorious bagging 36,049 votes.

In the February 8 polls, Mr Khan is set to contest again as a PTI-backed independent candidate from the constituency facing Muhammad Ishaq Khan of JI, Siddique Akbar of PPP and Hafeezuddin of MQM-P.


This constituency largely covers Orangi Town with most of the population comprising Urdu speaking communities who settled here after East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

The areas include Orangi Town Sectors 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, Gulshan-i-Bihar, Mansoor Nagar, Aziz Nagar and Baba Wilayat Shah.

The constituency is set to witness one of the key contests which is between former federal minister and senior MQM-P leader Syed Amin ul Haq and Jamaat-i-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman.

Mr Haq enjoys a history of winning for the party from the constituency and is famous for his efforts for the area when he was federal minister for IT and telecom. He had launched several initiatives for his hometown.

Hafiz Naeem, on the other hand, has emerged as serious contender after he and his party took up several fundamental issues of the city to authorities and most importantly succeeded in winning nationality status of several thousand residents of the area through rigorous party campaigning.

Other candidates from the constituency include PTI-backed Malik Arif Awan and Waseem Akhtar of PPP.

Provincial assembly seats

On six seats of the provincial assembly, there are more than 100 candidates in the run.

Before the district was cut short in terms of its geography, district West had a total of 11 constituencies of Sindh Assembly and in 2018 general elections five of them were won by PTI, four by MQM-P and one each by the PPP and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan.

Since the number of Sindh Assembly seats has been shrunk to six, the parties are eyeing for their strongholds in the district. Since the parties which have good electoral success in the district are facing different challenges, analysts believe the elections on the seats of Sindh Assembly in the district West could lead to surprises and upsets where total number of votes and winning margins compared to National Assembly seats always remain much thin.

PS-116 is the first constituency of Sindh Assembly in West district.

It mainly comprises areas of Gulshan-i-Maymar, Surjani Town, Khuda Ki Basti and Taiser Town.

With total 43,045 registered voters, more than 20 candidates are in the run for the seat which is expected to see a close contest.

The Sindh Assembly PS-117 constituency covers entire Surjani Town.

The low-income neighbourhood has remained a stronghold of MQM-P in the electoral history of party.

With more than 100,000 registered voters, the constituency this time is expected to witness another close contest between candidates of MQM-P, JI and PTI-backed independent candidate.

The PS-118 comprises whole Manghopir and parts of MPR Colony, Islamia Colony, Muhammadpur and Baloch Goth. Here the number of registered voters stands at 107,939 with more than 20 candidates in the run for the seat.

In PS-119, there are a few blocks of Orangi Town, Aligarh, Qasba Colony and Data Nagar, where total number of registered voters is 247,362.

Total 28 candidates are vying for this Sindh Assembly seat. Several blocks of Orangi Town are spread over Sindh Assembly seats of PS-120 and PS-121, where numbers of the registered votes are 237,701 and 215,610, respectively.

The two constituencies cover Orangi Town Sectors 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, Gulshan-i-Bihar, Mansoor Nagar, Aziz Nagar and Baba Wilayat Shah.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2024

Header image: PPP attend an election campaign rally in Karachi on February 5, 2024. — AFP