The by-elections for the NA-245 seat that fell vacant after the death of PTI’s Aamir Liaquat will be held on August 21.
The by-election was originally scheduled to be held on July 27, however, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) postponed it due to torrential rains in the metropolis.
Political parties and independent candidates made intense last-minute efforts to garner more and more public support as the election campaign, which severely hampered by monsoon rains, concluded at midnight on Saturday.
A total of 15 candidates belonging to different political parties are contesting the by-election from the National Assembly constituency 245. Among them the most prominent are Farooq Sattar (Indp) PTI’s Mehmood Baqi Moulvi, MQM’s Moeed Anwar and PSP’s Syed Hafeezuddin.
The constituency comprises Jamshed Quarters, Pakistan Quarters, Martin Quarters, PECHS, Lines Area, Soldier Bazaar, New Town, Patel Para, Garden West, Martin Quarters, Teen Hatti, PIB Colony, etc. As many as 166,869 votes were cast in this constituency.
The ECP has set up 263 polling stations. Of these, 203 are declared highly-sensitive while rest are sensitive. There are around 515,000 registered voters in the constituency who will exercise their right on Sunday.
Three-way contestThe NA-245 by-poll is expected to be a three-way contest between Farooq Sattar, PTI’s Mahmood Maulvi and MQM-Pakistan’s Moeed Anwar.
The MQM-Pakistan candidate enjoys the support of its allies in the coalition government in the center. In 2018 General Election, Aamir Liaquat Hussain had defeated Dr. Farooq Sattar by securing 56,673 votes.
According to individual statistics, late Dr. Aamir Liaquat had defeated the MQM candidate by 21,244 votes, TLP’s by 35,936, and MMA’s by 36,530 votes.
MQM-P faces a tough challengeEnjoying strong position in the constituency after support from different parties, the MQM-P, however, faces a new challenge as its disgruntled leader, Dr Farooq Sattar is also contesting as an independent candidate.
PPP, PML-N, JUI-F and ANP have withdrawn their candidatures and threw their support behind MQM’s candidate in accordance with a decision taken by the federal ruling coalition.
But, according to some political experts, the MQM-Pakistan, which repeatedly alleged that its mandate in Karachi had been stolen in the 2018 elections, now has to prove that by winning this seat, especially at a time when PTI’s popularity is at its peak.
They were of the view that TLP and the PSP would divide the anti-PTI votes. This means MQM-Pakistan is facing a tough challenge.
A timeline of Federal QuartersPakistan Quarters Jamshed Quarters, Martin East, Martin West, and Jahangir Quarters are all part of Karachi’s Federal Quarters that were built on state land for government servants at the time of Partition in 1948.
As the federal capital at the time of the independence, Karachi suffered from a severe housing shortage. To address the problem, the government built a number of ‘quarters’ – small residential units – between 1948 and 1952.
There are around 4,000 housing units in all of them and they occupy a total of 273 acres of land in Karachi’s East and Central districts.
Complaints about them have been making rounds in various state institutions, including the courts, since the 1970s.
In 1971, some retired employees approached Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who, at the time, was the president of Pakistan. They asked him to give them ownership rights of the quarters. On May 2, 1972, Bhutto approved a proposal for the construction of “decent multi-storied buildings” but the plan never materialised.
On September 15, 1989, the federal cabinet once again decided that they be given ownership rights. On April 5, 1991, the National Assembly’s deputy speaker, federal housing minister and a couple of senators made the same announcement in a joint press conference. In 2007-08, the ministry of housing sent certificates to those who were deemed eligible to become the owners of their quarters.
The issue came into the limelight once again in 2018 when former CJP Saqib Nisar ordered authorities to vacate the federal quarters. At least 16 people, including six police personnel, were injured as a result of clashes which broke out after residents were asked to vacate Pakistan Quarters.
It is 2022 now and serving and retired government employees still did not get ownership of their quarters.
ARY News interviewed some of the candidates running for the NA seat and quizzed why should people vote for them?
Here is what they had to say;
Farooq Sattar (Ind candidate)While speaking exclusively with ARY News Digital Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Bahali Committee (MQM-BC) head Dr Farooq Sattar said that all the previous governments had promised to give ownership rights to residents of federal quarters but it was not implemented even MQM was also part of the different federal governments but failed to resolved the issue due to several reasons.
To a question asked about why Federal Quarter residents should vote for him as he too failed in resolving the matter despite being a part of different govts in past, Farooq Sattar said: “When police operation was launched against residents of federal quarters in 2018 PTI government, no one came forward in support of the people. Neither late Aamir Liaquat came who was MNA from this constituency, nor Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui or JI’s Hafiz Naeem raised voice for them. It was Farooq Sattar who stood with them for the whole day. They are like my family and will definitely vote for me in by-polls.”
To a question, Sattar said that like other areas of Karachi, NA-245 also faces problems like sewerage and water shortage issues. He called for forming a parliamentary committee of MNAs which should look over development works and later the committee should convert into the Karachi Urban Development Commission by legislation.
“All stakeholders should be included in the Karachi Urban Development Commission for the resolution of issues and early completion of the K-IV project,” he said and added that Sewerage Treatment Plant (TP3) and TP2 Mehmood had been constructed during my tenure and these all plants are non-functional.
When asked about his possible return to MQM-Pakistan, Farooq said that he tried his best to return to MQM by neglecting all differences. Sattar said that he called for injecting new blood into the party but it looks impossible now. He also claimed that Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) was given a lollipop by Sindh government on Local Government law issue.
Mahmood Maulvi (PTI candidate)Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Mahmood Maulvi Afridi was confident that PTI will once again emerge victorious from this constituency.
PTI would win the NA-245 seat again, he said, adding that people knew that only the PTI could solve the problems of Karachi.
He remarked that the people of Karachi had been suffering because of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), and the residents of NA-245 would teach them a lesson on the day of the by-election.
He claimed that it was PTI that resolved the issue of federal quarters in 2018 when then prime minister Imran Khan approved a lease for a period of 54 years.
Moeed Anwar (MQM-Pakistan candidate)Talking exclusively with ARY News, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) candidate Moeed Anwar said that former party lawmaker Sufiyan Yousuf resolved some issues of Karachi’s Federal Quarters by granting “ownership” rights to residents through Karachi Metropolitan Cooperation (KMC).
When asked about how he would solve the Pakistan Quarter issue if got elected, Moeed Anwar said that the party has made an agreement with PPP regarding Sindh LG law and other Karachi issues and the Federal Quarter’s issue would be resolved provincially with the help of PPP as relations with former are better.
“I will raise the matter with PPP-led Sindh government as it is a provincial matter and can be solved only through KMC,” Anwar said. He further said that the 2018 lease claim by PTI was fake and a “political stunt”.
To a question, he said that it will be a tough contest between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and MQM-Pakistan for the NA-245 seat. The MQM-P leader said that four parties have announced support for them and would not be a big challenge for MQM to clinch a seat.
“MQM has no danger from Farooq Sattar who is contesting as an independent candidate,” he said, adding that the TLP factor will not dent MQM’s vote as their [TLP] vote bank is confined to selective areas.
The by-elections for the NA-245 seat that fell vacant after the death of PTI’s Aamir Liaquat will be held on August 21. The by-election was originally