Karachi by-election: NA-249 residents want to know what will be done to solve water problems

In 2018, NA-249 had elected PTI senior leader Faisal Vawda as its representative in lower house of parliament

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  • In 2018, NA-249 had elected PTI senior leader Faisal Vawda as its candidate in the lower house of parliament. 
  • Vawda's appointment as federal minister for water resources made residents hopeful that their water woes will be resolved.
  • Seeing concerns of residents, all candidates vying for National Assembly seat have made water scarcity the core issue of their campaign.

KARACHI: Residents of NA 249 are demanding the candidates contesting the NA-249 by-election in Karachi come up with clear cut and time-bound plans to resolve the water problems of the constituency, reported The News on Tuesday.

The publication reported that long lines of residents holding blue plastic drums, canisters, buckets and bottles outside water supply tanks can be spotted in most neighbourhoods of the area. Tankers and donkey carts are also seen selling water to the residents.

In the 2018 general elections, NA-249 had voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) senior leader Faisal Vawda as the representative in the lower house of Parliament. The PTI leader had defeated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Punjab’s former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in a closely contested election.

When Prime Minister Imran Khan had made Vawda the federal minister for water resources, the residents of the constituency were happy and hopeful that their water woes will be resolved.

“But like his predecessors, Vawda also did not do anything to resolve the water problem in the constituency,” said Shabbir Tanoli, a resident of the Rashidabad area.

Read more: PTI, PML-N or TLP, Who can win Karachi’s NA-249?

Now, when Vawda resigned from the seat after casting his vote in the Senate polls and becoming a senator, the election commission has announced conducting a by-poll for the constituency on April 29.

Seeing the concerns of the residents, all the candidates vying for the National Assembly seat have made water scarcity the core issue of their respective campaigns.

Syed Mustafa Kamal, the Pak Sarzameen Party’s chairman and a former mayor of Karachi, is also in the race for the constituency.

Read more: PPP rejects PML-N’s request to withdraw candidate for NA 249 Karachi by-poll

In an election rally Sunday night, Kamal assured the people that he understands the civic issues, particularly that of water scarcity, in the area, and can resolve them.

“During my mayorship, a water line to carry 4.8 million gallons was laid down for Baldia Town,” he claimed. He said 178 illegal connections and 25 hydrants exist on the waterline.

Similarly, PML-N’s candidate Miftah Ismail, who is one of the strongest candidates, admitted that chemical-tainted dirty water is mixed with safe drinking water which has been causing various diseases among the residents.

Read more: A Pakistani candymaker's unique election campaign

“Now, God willing, after winning the by-poll, I will put a plan in place to provide clean water, which will solve this problem forever,” the former finance minister told the residents of Ittehad Town in an election meeting.

Meanwhile, the PPP and PTI candidates, the two parties that have been ruling Sindh and the centre respectively, have been on the defensive because both have failed to resolve the water scarcity problem.