By: Asifa Zehra
By-polls in PS-114 constituency of Karachi, scheduled on July 9, has triggered the political temperature of the country.
All the political parties are putting their full efforts and resources to convince 193,892 registered voters of the constituency. The by-election is being held after the victory of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’s Irfanullah Marwat was declared void by the election tribunal in July, 2014 after the runner-up, MQM’s Rauf Siddiqui challenged the result, alleging that the polls were rigged.
Marwat won the election with 37,130 votes, while runner-up Siddiqui secured 30,305 votes. Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had decided to re-poll in the constituency after National Database Registration Authority declared that above 17,000 fake votes were casted in the elections. Whereas the apex court uphold the ECP decision in May 2017. The seat had fallen vacant after the Supreme Court declared the election of PML-N’s Irfan Marwat from this constituency as null and void.
The constituency, situated in Karachi’s District East, is both ethnically and religiously diverse. Stepping into PS-114 is like stepping into a mini Pakistan – people from all over the country have settled in the area. This includes Sindhis, Baloch, Saraikis, Punjabis, Pakhtuns and Urdu-speaking people. The constituency is consisted of Mahmudabad, Manzoor Colony, Chanesar Goth, Azam Basti, Junejo town and parts of Kashmir Colony.
PML-N Irfanullah Marwat had won the elections in the constituency twice and MQM had won the seat once. It is pertinent to mention here that Irfanullah Marwat threw his weight behind Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s candidate Najeeb Haroon.
About 32 candidates are contesting the election but the main combat is expected among the candidates of Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMN-N), MQM Pakistan and Jamat-e-Islami .
Irfan Marwat had all set to join PPP but criticism of Asifa Bhutto Zardari and Bakhtawar Bhutto Zarda led him to change his decision. It seemed that Marwat took revenge by supporting PTI’s candidate in the by-polls.
PPP’s Saeed Ghani making full efforts to win the by-polls so as to foil the perception that PPP could only win elections from Malir. Kemari and Lyari. It is last chance for MQM-Pakistan to show its powers. Irfan Marwat is an influence personality of the constituency and its support to PTI will play a vital role in the elections.
The area is not only diverse ethnically but also boasts a wide variety of religious groups. The Christian community makes up more than 23% of the registered votes, with 30,000 residents and the Hindu community has another few thousand voters in the area. Minority votes will also play an important role in the by elections.
Candidates affiliated with different political parties have been winning election from PS-114 but non played his due role to serve the masses after reaching in assemblies. Despite whoever will win the by-election 2017, masses of the constituency amid heaps of garbage, over flowing gutters and dilapidated roads will think what they got?