Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday retained the NA-245 seat of Karachi in the by-
polls were held for the election of the constituency’s new lawmaker after the seat fell vacant following the death of Aamir Liaquat Hussain, who was elected on a PTI ticket in 2018, according to unofficial results.
The polling process started at 8 am and continued until 5 pm. However, the polling time was extended by an hour at polling stations 55, 143 and 144. Unofficial results from 263 polling stations showed PTI’s Mehmood Maulvi securing the seat with 29,475
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Mueed Anwar was in second with 13,193 votes, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) Muhammed Ahmed Raza secured 9,836 votes, Farooq Sattar bagged 3,479 votes and MQM-H came last with 1,177 votes. The polling for the by-poll was held amid strict security on the 263 polling stations. Out of the 263, 60
were declared sensitive and 203 most sensitive.
Footage broadcast on television showed election officials sitting in a relatively barren polling station. However, as the day progressed, some citizens could be seen at election camp offices getting information.
There was a limited number of people turning up for voting with police and security personnel outnumbering voters. However, Provincial Election Commissioner Ejaz Anwar Chauhan insisted that people were participating in the election process in “large numbers”. Chauhan was visiting various polling stations with Sindh Chief Secretary Muhammad Sohail Rajput and Sindh Inspector General of Police Ghulam Nabi Memon.
Rajput said the polling process was held in a transparent manner and the government had ensured all arrangements, adding that “sensitive” polling stations were under surveillance.
As polling was underway, PTI’s Chaudhry Fawad urged the people of the metropolitan city to vote in the party’s favour. “Today, Karachi will stand with the truth, with democracy and true freedom,” he said.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, meanwhile, said that “violence and interference” would not be tolerated. In a statement, he called on citizens to cast their votes at polling stations without fear.
Raja had said that swift action would be taken against those violating the law, adding that those spreading unrest would be arrested on the spot.
The ECP also tweeted a video of its by-election control room, in which officials could be seen seated as televisions ran in the background. As voting entered its final two hours, former premier Imran Khan urged supporters to “go immediately to vote if they haven’t already done so”, claiming the party was “on our way to winning the Karachi NA- 245 election”.
The by-election turned out to be significant as it was being held just a week before Karachi’s local government elections. The MQM-Pakistan had persistently been alleging that its mandate in Karachi had been stolen in the 2018 elections, and was faced with the challenge of proving it at a time when PTI’s popularity appears to be increasing.
Other factors that made things more daunting for the MQM-P included the TLP and the PSP candidates as well as Dr. Sattar who experts believed divided the anti-PTI votes. Like the NA-240 by-election, the Jamaat-e-Islami was not contesting the polls but it took out a rally in connection with its ‘Karachi rights movement’.
The constituency comprises Jamshed Quarters and Ferozabad sub-divisions that include PECHS, Lines Area, Pakistan Quarters, Soldier Bazaar, New Town, Patel Para, Garden West, Martin Quarters, Teen Hatti, PIB Colony, etc.
People in this area mostly belong to middle-class groups doing small businesses or employed with government departments and private sector and also daily-wage earners.
Various ethnicities live in this area, including Urdu-speaking, Gujarati-speaking, Balochi, Punjabis, Pakhtuns, Sindhis, etc.
There are over 515,000 registered voters in the constituency, indicating an increase of 71,463 voters since the July 2018 general elections.