KARACHI - Battling with multiple issues, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), which once enjoyed unmatched support from urban parts of Sindh, faced a setback in the 2018 general elections when the party lost majority of its seats to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Although the MQM-P emerged as the second largest party of the city in terms of vote bank, its victory was not as convincing as it was in the past when most of its National Assembly candidates received more than 100,000 votes in every constituency.
In 2018 elections, none of the party candidate was able to win with such a convincing margin; they had a close fight with rival parties, especially PTI.
According the statistic issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the MQM-P secured 7.86 percent of the total votes cast in the city and fell far behind the PTI, which won more than 10 percent of the total votes cast during 2018 polls in the city.
It’s worth mentioning here that the number of votes the PTI secured in 2013 general elections in the metropolis was around one million, but in 2018 elections the PTI got 0.844 million votes, witnessing a slight decline in its popularity. However, the MQM-P, which won 1.9 million votes in Karachi in 2013, witnessed a massive rejection through voter turnout and was only voted with 0.625 votes in 2018.
Commenting on this, MQM-P Coordination Committee member Amin ul Haq rejected the perception and said that it all happed due to massive rigging in the polls.
Newly-elected Member of National Assembly Haq, however pointed out multiple factors like boycott of the election by the MQM London, Karachi operation directed towards people associated with the MQM, emergence of factions within the MQM-P, including Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP).
He said that other political parties could not even survive in circumstances that MQM faced in five years but the MQM still managed to secure second position in urban Sindh.
“We were restrained from running the election campaign. We were not allowed to hold public gatherings or even display posters and banners.”
ECP statistics show that MQM-P, which mainly banks on the support of Urdu-speaking community in the city, could have easily won at least four National Assembly constituencies if its former factions -- Pak Sarzameen Party and Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqqiqi -- would have joined hands. These two factions managed to secure two percent of the total votes cast in the city and could have supported MQM-P to win NA-239, NA-241, NA-250 and NA-252 where MQM lost by a little margin. Haq said that somehow the boycott of the MQM-London also affected the election results.
It is worth mentioning here that MQM London was the only party, which celebrated the victory and dozens of party workers rushed to MQM headquarters Nine Zero chanting slogans in favour of their founder Altaf Hussain and celebrated the boycott in the evening on July 25.
Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqqiqi Chairman Afaq Ahmed had said in his post-election speeches, “I had pointed out before the elections that mandate of Karachi is being gifted to others.” He called for consolidating platform for Mohajirs of urban Sindh. The MQM-H decided to take part in the general elections although it had said that elections were being controlled and engineered by every means. He cited his pre-election press conference that space was being given to a particular party. He said that a specific political party had an open field to conquer Karachi but no one bothered to listen about the facts that efforts were being made in the general elections to snatch the mandate of Karachi and now the city has been handed over to non-Karachiites, said Afaq Ahmed.
On the other side, newly emerging PSP made tall claims ahead of formation of the Sindh government. PSP Chairman Mustafa Kamal told The Nation that “all such questions are irrelevant because we categorically rejected the election results.