GIVEN the tense environment that was surrounding the second phase of local government elections in Sindh, it is a matter of great satisfaction that the process remained largely peaceful with no major incident of violence or confrontation reported.
The credit of this definitely goes to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the security agencies for ensuring foolproof security arrangements.
Nonetheless, the very low voter turnout is really disappointing. Addressing a presser, the MQM leaders citing the low turnout stated that the people have rejected what they called the rigged polls.
The very boycott of MQM-P over its serious concerns on the delimitation process undoubtedly has played its part in the low turnout.
Either somebody likes it or not, it is a fact that MQM-P is a reality in urban areas of Sindh province particularly Karachi and Hyderabad.
The party still enjoys a large support base in the two cities. Hence, its staying away from the polls kept their workers and supporters away from the polling stations.
Other factors that contributed to the low turnout is that the PTI did not carry out the electioneering for which it is famous for as its Chairman Imran Khan was injured and without his presence, the party was not visible much on the roads and streets of Karachi.
Anyway as the process stands completed, now all the eyes are on who will be the next Mayor of Karachi – the city which is faced with a series of problem ranging from water, sanitation, sewerage to the poor road infrastructure.
It has become important that whosoever assumes the charge of the city, must also be given full powers and resources to address its problems.
The people still remember the development work carried out by Jamaat-e-Islami’s Mayor Naimatullah Khan and also that of Mustafa Kamal of MQM and if the same momentum was carried forward, the metropolitan’s situation on the ground would have been far better.
It will be a test case for the new Mayor as to how he proceeds forward. He definitely would require the support of provincial government to live up to the expectations of Karachiites.
The need now is not to be lax with regard to polio, step up surveillance and continue funding the polio effort. Polio anywhere is after all polio everywhere.