PS-95: Parties join forces to weaken MQM’s vote bank


KARACHI: 

In what could be considered a strategic move to win the by-polls in Sindh Assembly’s constituency PS-95, the Awami National Party will support Pakistan Peoples Party’s candidate while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is backing an independent candidate. The winner of the last elections, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, however, stands alone and confident of victory.

The general elections, which took place on May 11, were postponed in the constituency due to the murder of Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi’s candidate Shakil Ahmed just a day before.

Flags and banners of PPP and MQM have been put up all around the roads and intersections of the constituency while police personnel have also been deployed in the area so that campaigning doesn’t get out of hand.

MQM’s Muhammad Hussain will contest against PPP’s Muhammad Jameel Zia, also being supported by ANP, and an independent candidate, Syed Mohammad Saleem Ashrafi, who’s being supported by PTI and other mainstream parties.

A day before the by-polls, the spirits of MQM’s workers were high. “Our party has the majority votes in this constituency. Our earlier victories in PS-95 and this year in NA-242 are a clear indication that our candidate will easily win the seat with huge margin,” said a member of the MQM at Orangi Town No.15. He was reluctant to disclose his name as the party’s rules do not allow him to speak to the media. “Our voters are ideological. They will come to the polling stations to vote for their candidate to strengthen the mission of our leader, Altaf Hussain Bhai,” said the young man.

Ashrafi also hopes to bag a large number of votes because of the support from PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and the Behari Community of the city. “The MQM has created problems for the people of the area, which we hope to overcome,” said Ashrafi. PS-95 has 150,810 registered voters.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2013.