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Dozens in the fray for Lyari seats

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KARACHI: Several parties and dozens of candidates, among them a woman, have filed nomination papers to contest elections for a National Assembly and three Sindh Assembly seats whose constituency comprises areas along the fringes of congested Lyari.

Lyari has remained a stronghold of the PPP but this time the party has succumbed to pressure from a local group, now called the Karachi City Alliance headed by Uzair Jan Baloch, and issued tickets to candidates acceptable to both sides.

“We support the candidates who have been awarded PPP tickets,” said Zafar Baloch, once a PPP district south leader who now represents the disgruntled and estranged party cadres. All the three candidates for Sindh Assembly seats, who have been issued PPP tickets, are young and one of them is a woman.

Shahjehan Baloch, who is in his 40s, has been a staunch party worker and had served as nazim of UC-11 in Lyari till 2009. He has got party ticket for NA-248 in place of Nabil Gabol, who is now vying for a ticket of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement for the same constituency.

The MQM said two of its candidates, Mr Gabol, and Mohammad Saleem, had filed nomination papers for NA-248. Party chief Altaf Hussain would decide the final candidate, said the party. Jan Mohammad will be the Jamaat-i-Islam (JI) candidate for the same constituency.

Sania Naz, 26, will be the first woman from Lyari to contest for a general seat. Daughter of a carpenter, she has just finished her higher studies and runs the Lyari Resource Centre in the area’s heart called Football House.

She has got a PPP ticket for PS-109, a seat won by the PPP’s late Rafiq Engineer in 2002 and 2008 elections. She will be pitted against Azhar Ahsaan of the MQM and Jan Mohammad of the JI.

The PPP has awarded tickets to Javed Nagori and Adnan Baloch for PS-108 and PS-111. The MQM’s candidates for PS-108 will be chosen from among Mohammad Ali and Mohammad Saleem while a host of candidates have filed papers for PS-111 from whom the party will finalise one candidate.

They are: Sharjeel Ghoplani, Mohammad Kamran, Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Dilawar, Asif Siddiqui, Tahir Qureshi, Syed Irshad and Irfan Khan Ghori.

The JI’s candidates for PS-108 and PS-111 will be Fazlur Rehman and H.M. Hanif.

A spokesman for the Awami National Party said the party was not fielding its candidates in Lyari because of the ‘difficult law and order situation’. He, however, said the party would announce its support for any political party or individuals contesting in Lyari later.