The vibrant city of Karachi is abuzz with anticipation as it prepares to host a significant event in its local governance – the local government by-elections. A total of nine vacant seats are up for grabs, drawing the participation of 54 candidates, including notable figures like the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Karachi. This electoral showdown is set to take place today and will encompass various union committees (UCs) across five out of Karachi’s seven districts.
Of particular significance is the active participation of Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab and Deputy Mayor Salman Murad, both representing the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). They have taken center stage in this electoral battle, with their eyes set on securing key positions in the city’s local governance. These positions include UC chairmen, vice-chairmen, and general members.
Mayor Wahab’s initial foray into the election landscape involved filing nomination papers for the UC chairman’s role in three different seats. However, his unopposed victory in UC-8, due to the rejection of a Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) candidate’s papers and the withdrawal of a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) contender, set the stage for his focused campaign in UC-13 Kehkashan Clifton.
In UC-13, Mayor Wahab faces stiff competition from a field of six contenders, including three independent candidates. The main rivals in this contest include Noor-ul-Islam of JI, Sikandar Agar of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), and Syed Obaidullah Shah of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl.
Deputy Mayor Salman Murad is equally determined to make his mark in these by-polls. He is actively vying for the UC chairman’s seat in his native UC-7 Gadap, Malir. His competitors in this electoral showdown include Ayub Khaskheli of JI, Salim Ahmed of TLP, and Abdul Hafeez Jokhio of PTI. Furthermore, the race for the position of vice-chairman in the same UC features candidates from PPP, PTI, and TLP.
The by-elections also feature a fiercely contested battle for the UC-3 Mauripur chairman position. Candidates representing PPP, PTI, JI, and PML-N are actively participating in this race. Similarly, the vice-chairman position in UC-12 Boat Basin, Saddar Town, boasts a diverse array of candidates from political parties such as PPP, JI, PML-N, and PTI, providing voters with a multitude of choices.
In UC-6 Nanakwara, Saddar Town, six contenders are engaged in an intense competition for the chairman’s position. Notable candidates include Mansoor Ahmed Shaikh of PTI and Mohammad Shahrukh of TLP. Additionally, the race for the four general member seats in various wards is characterized by candidates representing different political parties, reflecting the democratic diversity of choices available to voters.
The Election Commission of Pakistan, in collaboration with relevant authorities, has meticulously arranged the logistics and security measures for these by-elections. A total of 121 polling stations have been established in Karachi, with 42 of them designated as ‘highly sensitive’ and 79 as ‘sensitive.’ To ensure equal access to the voting process, separate polling booths for male and female voters have been set up.
The voting process is scheduled to commence at 8 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m., offering citizens ample time to exercise their democratic rights and shape the future of local governance in Karachi.
Furthermore, the Sindh police have crafted a robust security plan for the LG by-elections. Thousands of police personnel are being deployed across the province, with a quick response force on standby to swiftly address any untoward incidents, safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.
In addition to the Karachi by-elections, a total of 209 polling stations have been established in other districts of the province for by-elections, further underscoring the democratic significance of these electoral exercises.