Karachi LG polls: Who is facing who?

Local government elections in Karachi are expected to be held on January 15

Arshad Yousafzai
A woman casts her vote at a polling station during by-elections in Karachi on October 16, 2022. — PPI
A woman casts her vote at a polling station during by-elections in Karachi on October 16, 2022. — PPI

Well-known political rivals, who are contesting the upcoming local government elections in Karachi, are likely to be neck and neck in the race as they will be contesting against not only one another but also other local candidates, The News reported Wednesday. 

The second phase of the local government (LG) polls in Karachi is scheduled to take place on January 15 (Sunday) after a months-long delay due to the flood situation in the province. 

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, who is contesting from UC-8 (Al-Falah, North Nazimabad), will face the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Akbar Masood, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Abu Bakkar Siddiq and the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Sahibzada Khan.

This constituency holds importance for JI Karachi as its chief is the party's expected mayoral candidate for the city. He, however, had lost the seat to an unpopular MQM-P contestant in the previous LG elections.

Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi, one of PTI's founding members, is contesting for two North Nazimabad Town union councils: UC-1 (Paposh Colony) and UC-6 (Khamosh Colony).

In UC-1, he will face JI’s Muhammad Nadeem, PPP's Javeed Mureed Bikak and MQM-P’s Saleem Muhammad. In UC-6, JI’s Muhammad Iqbal, MQM-P’s Rizwan Uddin and PPP’s Faisal Sheikh can give him a tough time. He has already lost eight times in the by-elections for provincial and National Assembly seats.

In Saddar Town PPP’s Syed Najmi Alam, who is expected to be a candidate for mayor or deputy mayor, is in the run as vice chairman for UC-12. He is also contesting for UC-11.

He will be facing Khurrum Sher Zaman, the PTI’s parliamentary party leader in the provincial assembly who was also elected as MPA from Saddar Town.

The JI has awarded a ticket to Maaz Liaquat, who was formerly associated with the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. In UC-11 and UC-12 the PPP has formed an alliance with the Tehreek-e-Awam Ahl-e-Sunnat.

PTI’s Firdous Shamim Naqvi is in the run for UC-2 (Soldier Bazaar). The Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) has withdrawn its panel in favour of Naqvi. According to the written agreement between the two parties, if Naqvi wins, the MWM’s councillor will be accommodated.

The Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) has not fielded any heavyweight candidate. However, they believe if they gain a significant number of seats, they would accommodate a suitable candidate on the reserved seats. The MQM-P has adopted the same strategy. The party’s last mayor, Wasim Akhtar, was elected from the Lines Area in the previous LG polls.

The PPP has fielded Malik Fayaz in Lyari, and he is an expected candidate for the town council’s chairmanship.

He will face candidates of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and the PTI. The PPP will apparently take advantage of the rifts within the PTI, and the latter’s alienated MNA Shakoor Shad will also support the PPP.

Second phase

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had told the Sindh government that the second phase of the local government polls in Karachi and Hyderabad would be held on July 24, 2022, but then it postponed them because of torrential rains and subsequent floods in the province.

The electoral body rescheduled the LG elections for August 28, but they were put off again for the same reason.

The commission had said that most polling stations had been inaccessible to the voters.

On October 18, the ECP rescheduled the elections for October 23, but the provincial government sought their postponement for three months because it had deployed police in the flooded areas, due to which it was unable to provide the required level of security to the polling stations.

After the repeated delays, the PTI and JI moved the Sindh High Court, which on November 15 instructed ECP to announce the date for the LG elections within 15 days.

On November 22, the ECP announced January 15 as the new date.