MQM-H chairman Afaq Ahmed is among 16 candidates in the run.
Accepting responsibility for the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi's (MQM-H) abysmal performance in the July 25 elections, party Chairman Afaq Ahmed announced on Friday that he will step down from the party's leadership.
Afaq, addressing a press conference in Karachi, said that it is now time for MQM-H to choose a new leadership. His announcement was met with severe opposition from workers present at the presser, but Afaq refused to budge, saying: "I am not among those who change their decisions".
He asked the workers of the party to form a managing committee and democratically elect a new leadership. Afaq, whose party did not win a single seat in the centre or the province, added that he had warned Mohajir politicians that the city was being taken away from them but they did not pay heed.
Afaq himself received just over 14,000 votes to come fifth in the race for NA-240 according to preliminary results.
MQM-H Spokesperson Khalid Hameed told Dawn that Afaq had accepted the "moral responsibility" for the loss, but the workers felt that their mandate was stolen by the manner in which elections were held and would not hold him responsible.
Afaq, who has enjoyed support in Karachi's Landhi area, was among the founding members of Mohajir Qaumi Movement, along with Altaf Hussain, but had parted ways with him in the early 1990s. With another dissident Amir Khan, he had formed MQM-H in 1992.
Khan and Afaq spent years in jail in after being arrested in 2004. While Khan eventually came back into Altaf-led MQM's fold to eventually become one of the most important person in post-Altaf MQM-Pakistan, Afaq had stood his ground.