KARACHI - Extremely low turnout is likely in NA-240 constituency, the stronghold of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Haqqiqi, in the upcoming general elections scheduled for July 25.
The constituency based upon the Urdu-speaking population in majority is considered the stronghold of the MQM Haqqiqi which has been dominating the areas since 1992, but unable to change the voters mindset. In all the previous elections, the MQM managed to secure the victory with a large number of votes.
The constituency covers two provincial seats including PS-94 and PS-95 while the areas including Landhi, Korangi, Christian Colony, Kizarabad, Sarfarz Colony, Zaman Town, Sareef Colony, Muhammad Ali Colony, Gilgit Colony, Madina Colony, Bahaduryar Jang colony and adjacent localities. Historically, MQM and Haqqiqi are the major political parties ruled in the localities and the constituency had been the no-go area for MQM during 1992 to 2002 and since 2002, Haqqiqi hardly managed to maintain the position in the few of the areas.
Election campaign is witnessed in the areas where women take off the bodies of their love ones for burial and men avoid even taking risk to attend final rituals of their brothers killed during arm clashes between the rival political parties.
Scores of the workers from both the sides have been killed in decades old political war. Karachi operation drive began on September 2013 which neutralised the political situation in the locality. It increased the number of political parities participating in the election including MQM, MQM Haqqiqi, Pak Sarzameen Party, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Pakistan People Party, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and others.
Muhajir Qaumi Movement Chairman Afaq Ahmed himself is contesting for the said National Assembly seat while Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan awarded ticket to the Iqbal Ali Khan, alias Iqbal Deputy. Former MQM MNA, Syed Asif Hasnain, a resident of the same area, who recently joined PSP got the ticket from the party. Rest of the politically affiliated contenders include Abdul Jamil Khan of MMA, Sheikh M Feroz of the PPP and Farukh Manzoor of the PTI.
The Election Commission data reveals some nine contenders from different political parities while nine others are independent candidates.
A survey conducted by The Nation reveals that the majority of the voters distance themselves from the election process. Residents of the area declined to explain the cause behind such an irritation but the impression indicates that people of the area were still with the MQM London and follow the instructions from the MQM founder.
PSP made the tall claims ahead of the upcoming elections to give a massive dent to the MQM structure in Korangi, Landhi and adjacent localities but it fails to attract the voters. Irfan Ahmed, a resident of Korangi, while talking to The Nation said that the MQM and Haqqiqi workers consider notorious criminals involved in extortion were switched to PSP to maintain their lucrative interests. Thus, the residents of the area couldn’t even suppose to vote for PSP.
He said the gang of MQM Raees alias Mamma affiliated with MQM and Nasir alias Chingari joined PSP. Zeshan Ali, a resident of Korangi, said that MQM Pakistan has an edge because of their traditional symbol Kite and it would benefit the party. He said that the MQM is still the largest party in the area and has a big vote bank.
He pointed out that a large number of people also consider MQM Haqqiqi an option better than the MQM or PSP. He said that the people loyal to the MQM London seem to be unhappy with MQM Pakistan and PSP and are showing their tilt towards them. The residents of the constituency belonging to the lower and lower middle class in majority and Barailvi school of thought would make TLP as another strong party.