Farooq, PTI or MQM: Who will win NA-245 contest?

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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.The 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.Enjoying 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its disgruntled leader, Dr Farooq Sattar is also contesting as an independent candidate.PPP, PML-N, JUI-F and ANP have withdrawn their candidatures and threw their support behind MQM’s candidate in accordance with a decision taken by the federal ruling coalition.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.Pakistan 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.

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