Karachi: The PTI-JI led alliance failed to dent MQM vote bank while ruling PPP also maintained its upper hand in its traditional strongholds of Lyari and Malir in Karachi elections. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) appeared to be taking enough seats to singlehandedly elect its mayor for the city. Even the Karachi presidents of both Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lost their seats at the hands of MQM, as per unofficial results.

In another major upset, the chief of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Karachi division was outnumbered by the candidate nominated by PTI-JI alliance, as the process of local bodies’ elections in Sindh was completed yesterday with polling in six districts of Karachi metropolitan. In Punjab, where polling was held in 12 districts in the last phase, the trend set in first two phases was again being seen as the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was leading while independents too were pocketing significant number of seats. As per the unofficial results received so far, PML-N won 850 seats in third phase of LG elections, independents 800, PTI 190 PPP 70, PML-Q nine and JI three.

Though a man was killed in Rawalpindi and a number of other incidents of violence and irregularities were reported from both provinces while voting started too late at some polling stations, the polling overall remained comparatively peaceful – especially giving the fact that more than 90 percent of polling stations in Karachi and a considerable number of stations in Punjab were declared sensitive. The MQM was leading by wining around 100 UCs out of the total 247 in Karachi’s six districts: District Central, District West, District Korangi, District East, District South and District Malir. PPP was second as it had so far won 10 UCs from Lyari and Malir, while PTI could pocket 7 UCs in different districts of the city.

According to initial and unconfirmed reports, the MQM has almost swept elections from District Central and has taken a convincing lead from District East and Korangi. The party claimed of crossing the magic figure of 105, the number of seats required for any party to bring its mayor in the city without the support of any other party. Talking to The Nation, MQM leader Aminul Haq said that the party has achieved a convincing lead in 111 union councils in the city and was expecting 20 more seats. “Out of 209 seats, any party who has 105 union councils could easily bring its mayor,” he said, adding that there were four candidates of the party for mayor but the final decision would be taken by MQM chief Altaf Hussain.

The four MQM candidates vying for mayor ship successfully defeated their opponents. Waseem Akhter won from Lines Area, Zareen Majeed, Dr Arshad Vohra and MQM candidate for vice chairman slot Rehan Hashmi also won from their constituencies. The political parties that were contesting Karachi elections included PPP, PML-N, MQM-A, PTI, Sunni Tehrik, JUI-F, Jamaat-e-Islami, JUI-P, ANP, PML-F, MQM-H, Qaumi Awami Tehreek. The biggest setback for the parties contesting against MQM was failure of their bigwigs. JI Karachi chapter chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman was outclassed in UC-18 of North Nazimabad by MQM activist Mazhar Hussain, who bagged 3,200 votes against Naeem’s 700.

PTI Karachi president Ali Zaidi lost UC-16 Soldier Bazar seat to MQM’s Naushad Khan. Another key leader of the party, Firdous Shamim Naqvi also lost to an MQM candidate in UC 25 of Gulshan-e-Iqbal (District East), however he won from UC 18 with 4,833 votes. PPP stalwart Najmi Alam lost to a candidate from JI-PTI alliance in UC-30 Clifton. The government had deployed 35,057 police personnel, 7,400 Rangers and 10 army companies – each with 80 soldiers – in the city to maintain law and order on polling day. Not severe in nature, five cases of gunshot injuries along with other 17 with wounds caused by sharp or heavy objects were brought to hospitals from different areas.

During the 10 hour long polling, five cases of attempted fraudulent acts were thwarted by law enforcers resulting in arrest of three impersonators, one presiding officer trying to prevail upon voters and eight attempting to snatch polling material. Staff Reporters from Rawalpindi adds: The PML-N had thrashed its arch rival PTI in the district as the ruling party had bagged victory in 31 Union Councils (UCs) out of the total 45 urban UCs. As many as eight seats were secured by independents while the PTI, the AML, and the PPP each could win only one UC seat.

PML-N Rawalpindi President Sardar Naseem won election of UC 36 chairman while Sheikh Rashid Shafique, nephew of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, thrashed N league in UC-40. Out of total 43 rural UCs, results of 12 had been received. The PML-N won six seats, the PTI two seats, independents three and the PPP one seat. The ruling PML-N was leading here by securing 46 seats followed by the independents who won 36 seats while the PTI bagged 17 and PPP won nine UC seats. The patron suggested the ruling party would easily come into a position to bring its Mayor and Chairman in the Multan district council. However, there were some upsets for the PML-N as some close relatives of its MNAs and MPAs lost elections. They included MNA Javed Ali Shah’s brother Mujahid Ali Shah. MPA and former provincial minister Rai Mansab Ali’s son Rai Arif Mansab, MPA Mazhar Abbas Raan’s son Atif Raan, and MPA Shahzad Mabool Bhutta’s brother Azhar Maqbool Bhutta and cousin Mian Sultan Alam. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi’s son in law also faced defeat.

PML-N got overwhelming majority in the Municipal Committee Ahmedpur East elections by pocketing 26 seats. Independents got 15 and PTI only four seats out of the total 45 slots. Here two former city nazims, Malik Muhammad Aleem,Qasim Qureshi; ex-naib Nazim Jamshed Iqbal Khokhar; and ex-vice chairman Muhammad Ramzan Janjua faced defeat. Over all the PML-N and independent candidates clinched almost equal seats in most of the general seats in urban and rural UCs in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils. This is said to be a setback for the ruling party which was expecting a clear lead. In Daska, four local journalists were also elected councilors in different urban wards.

In Narowal city, independent candidates grabbed 13 seats of general councilors, PML-N won 11 and PTI could get only one seat out of the total 25 MC seats. In Shakargarh, PML-N got nine seats and PTI and independents clinched five seats each of general councilors.