KARACHI - Although NA-254 which is not only located in the heart of District Central of Karachi but also is the centre of urban politics in the port city has not so far witnessed any prominent political activities.
Nine Zero, the sealed headquarters of MQM-Pakistan which once used to control politics of the port city is also located in this constituency which comprises higher middle and lower middle class population. It consists of Federal B Area which is comparatively clean and well-managed as well as North Karachi and New Karachi which are less developed.
The constituency covers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19 and 20 blocks of Federal B Area, Khawaja Ajmair Nagri, North Karachi, Yaseenabad, Roshan Bagh, Naseerabad, Azizabad, Hussainabad, New Karachi Sector 11, sectors G, F and J, Gharibabad, Shareefabad, Liaquatabad, Ishaqabad, Bhandani Colony, Sikanderabad, Aisha Manzil, Data Nagar, Godhrah, Al-Azam and Kareemabad.
As per the Election Commission of Pakistan record, the population of the constituency is 733,427 and the number of registered voters in the constituency is 486,120 which is 66.28 percent of the total population.
Top political parties of the city have fielded their heavyweights from the area in order grab the seat.
Both MQM-Pakistan and Pak Sarzameen Party which claim support from urban parts of the province have fielded their top leadership from the constituencies. MQM-Pakistan has fielded its convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui who would face PSP’s Arshad Vohra. Vohra has remained the deputy mayor of the city on the party ticket of MQM-Pakistan. The PSP has also fielded Anwar Raza for the provincial assembly constituency PS-125 and Iftikhar Alam for PS-126 falling under NA-254. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal has fielded its central leader, Rashid Naseem, from the area.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and PPP have, however, not fielded top party figures from this constituency. PPP has fielded Danish Turabi, grandson of renowned religious scholar Allama Rasheed Turabi who has recently joined PPP. PTI also gave its ticket to Muhammad Aslam Khan from here.
The constituency has been witnessing the dominance of the MQM for the last three decades. The party has secured maximum number of votes in all the previous elections held during 30 years. And whenever MQM boycotted an election, turnout was witnessed extremely low. MQM has been giving this constituency to non-Urdu speaking candidates of the party due to the confidence that they could not be defeated from here.
Liaquatabad and Federal B are considered MQM strongholds and the party was never defeated from any of the polling stations falling under these areas.
This time too, MQM-P has a strong chance of victory from this constituency as it was able to win all union council seats from the district central.
The shifting of MQM Headquarters, 90, from Azizabad to Bahadurabad, has changed the political environment in the constituency. The area where people used to vote for Kite, MQM’s election symbol, not even knew the names of candidates has not so far witnessed any prominent political activities by any political party despite the fact that less than one month is left in the upcoming general elections.
In a general survey conducted by The Nation in the constituency, people expressed different opinions about the current political situation and the upcoming elections, but a traditional enthusiasm has yet to be seen.
The major issues that can dominate the election campaign in this National Assembly constituency will be water shortage. This issue persists in the North Karachi areas whose residents have been facing water shortage for many years. Naveed Ali, a resident of North Karachi, while talking to The Nation, said they had been voted for MQM for many years, but the issue of water is still unresolved and residents of the area are forced to purchase tankers’ water.