What does delimitation mean for Karachi?

Published: December 22, 2012

It is time to say “no” to politics of violence in Karachi, as we can no longer afford to promise a future of fear to our coming generations. PHOTO: FILE

The bullet is something every Karachi resident is well acquainted with. But the ballot is something which one-third of the population is unaware of. With unrelenting stories of violence emanating every hour and the terror which has engulfed the entire rainbow of ethnicities, what do the coming general elections promise to the people is a fact unknown to anyone as yet.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision to carry out a delimitation exercise, aimed at effectuating a systematic division of voters on linguistic basis in Karachi, may thwart several predictions regarding the post-election scenario.

For the first time, at least 10 political parties have floated proposals for much-needed delimitation of Karachi, all of which are being examined by the ECP to ensure an effective modus operandi in this regard. However, it must be remembered that Karachi, as a city, is one of its kind.

Ranked as the 20th biggest metropolitan city of the world, Karachi generates 54.2% of the country’s revenue. But when it comes to violence prone cities, Karachi also ranks prominent among the most volatile cities of the world.

Despite the violence which plagues the city, people have not yet become immune to sounds of ear splitting gun shots and ambulances rushing the victims to hospitals.

Despite the Supreme Court’s suo motu action on the worsening law and order situation in the city, target killers remain ready to unload volleys of bullets. Newspapers are replete with stories about bodies placed in gunny sacks and dumped on obscure road corners of the city.

Authorities miserably fail to calm the shattering nerves of the city. We have seen buildings gutted, erupting into showers of cement, bricks and dust; people outracing the clutches of death. These were the scenes witnessed when two buildings in Karachi became the center of focus- two separate incidents- two separate tragedies; the garment factory fire, and the State Life building suicide.

With electoral reforms, the Election Commission seems committed to breaking the incessant code of conduct for polls, there are mixed feelings about whether the mechanism devised to revive the vitality of the city will be implemented in true letter and spirit.

There are also fears of another wave of violence which this delimitation exercise may trigger as Karachi is a city deeply mired in ethnic and sectarian politics.

It is time to say “no” to politics of violence in Karachi, as we can no longer afford to promise a future of fear to our coming generations.


Sumeera Riaz

A producer for Express News.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Fahad Raza

    I think its about time for self assessment as to where our loyalties are.. With clean n fair election or just Dirty n bogus selection…? Recommend

  • khan

    i second you on that, this time free and fair election is the only solution to all the mess around usRecommend

  • Zubair

    what a pointless piece…everybody knows whatever you wrote already…how about doing a piece highlighting which parties stand to benefit from delimitation and how…why the mqm is opposed to it…dont write just for the sake of writingRecommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    The point of the blog .. and karachi is 11 most populous city and 7 most if you count illegal immigrants .Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/15302/what-does-delimitation-mean-for-karachi/ Fear monger

    You should have at least encouraged a new writer!! Recommend

  • Travellers

    @ writer.. What do you mean by State Life Building Suicide??? People like you should be slapped for such misleading newsRecommend

  • Umar

    SUICIDE ??? !! that young man hung for 20 minutes for his dear life and all people and did was make videos of him and nobody helped him and you have have nerve to say that man commitied sucide Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim

    Will the ”Demigog” allow free and fair elections!Recommend

  • Aamer

    “Karachi generates 54.2% of the country’s revenue”
    Where did you get this absurd but precise to 0.1 percentage point figure from? This is a completely inaccurate figure- Asian Development Bank report titled “Karachi-Mega Cities Preperation Project” states clearly that Karachi’s own(mind you OWN) share in country’s revenue stands at 25%Recommend

  • Parvez

    A somewhat guarded approach to the subject but the overall message is clear.

    Getting it right in Karachi will be a challenge for the ECP and if they do, it will not only be a feather in their cap but good for the country as well. Recommend

  • Reader

    good try!!! but slightly deviated from the topic…Recommend

  • socko

    By looking at the comments of hatred towards karachi from nonkarachi-ites, also in other median it seems mohajirs will have to face the biggest political game since bhutto ’cause mqm is the unique paerty that holds high regard from its elewctorates. Hopefully they will escape the wrath with or without breaking up. LosinG more lives will be a lot more painful for this subcontinent, which already has lost *bove 5 million already due to power and religion politicas. Recommend

  • Karachites

    So the need of Free and Fair Elections only present in Karachi and rest of the country is free from free and fair elections exercise where Feudals have their own constituencies and Monopolies?Recommend

  • Sangi Khan

    Pukhtun , Punjabi , Baloch , Sindhi in Karachi want to have our own representation which we do not have here due to bogus votes and MQM-favoured constituencies. We Pakhtun, Punjabi, Baloch and Sindhi make the majority of Karachi population and our votes are not entitled to MQM but still MQM gets more seats ? Why and How ?Recommend

  • Pakistani

    I am a karachi-ite, born and bred. What I don’t understand is why people outside of Karachi, generally, have such a racist view about Karachi and MQM? they r happy that in the majority of Pakistan the constituencies are centred around a specific family or feudal lord. If the ECP changes that to ensure no one feudal lord has a majority in any area then I will whole heatedly support this exercise, till then it is just another of the series of discriminatory actions against Karachi (others being the quota system for example).
    Until we as a nation become Just and Fair in our thinking and actions and don’t align ourselves along race, religion/sect and language, we r doomed ( just look at our neighbour where merit and fairness for most, at least in law, has made it such a powerhouse. Where even the parsi or a muslim can become the richest man)Recommend

  • aaaaa

    useless article rife with factual inaccuracies. 54.2% is a number made out of thin air. And the ECP is following SC orders, no mention of that. and suicide? how on earth did you get past the editors? are they so incompetent?Recommend

  • Akhtar

    I thought Sumeera till give some figtures on delimitation impact. This turned out to be just a bhashan. Waste of time. Recommend

  • Taqi Haider

    Please don’t call the State Life Building incident a suicide, the poor man was hanging to save his life, he was not trying to jump out of the window to end it, it’s bad enough that the tragedy was shown in news bulletins over and over and now you are calling it a suicide, please be careful with your choice of words when writing about these incidents.Recommend

  • Syed Muzammil

    I heard lots of populace talking about free and fair election; I am with them on it, but still hopeless. If any interim succeeds executing free and fair election still nothing is going to revolutionize then. The democratic system of Pakistan or more precisely the political parties has tumor our brain to cast vote for racism. As an outcome alike faces will emerge over again with matching agenda. The pure democratic system can only be successful in countries where people are able to difference the virtue and vice, not in a country where more than 70% citizens don’t even know how to write their own name. Recommend

  • Brasstack

    This delimitation is another of the highhanded tactics of the Punjabi judiciary who want to qbzaofy Karachi by hook or crook .If so many people have migrated to Karachi from upcountry ,their constituncies should also be delimited ,isnt this fair ?

    They want to delimit Karachi but not those other places from where millions migrated to Karachi .Is this fair ? And still all others are favoring this step and are poised to snatch whatever the Muhajirs possess by sheer hard works over the 70 years ..Recommend

  • http://www.christiancollege.vic.edu.au/ Geelong Private Secondary Schools

    Well the ballot is something which one-third of the population is unaware of. ..I heard lots of populace talking about free and fair election and even it is good also somehow..Recommend

  • ss

    i too am a Karachi born and bred Pakistani, but i think it’s high time we stop blaming ppl from other cities of Pakistan for being suspicious about MQM’s politics and the way they win seats in Karachi.

  • Junaid Punjabi

    Pointless piece, question still persists what delimitation means to Karachites. I was expecting an answer from the writer.Recommend

  • Sumeera

    Well, my actual comments were “These were the scenes witnessed when two buildings, a garment factory, and a State Life building, were gutted in Karachi”. I believe the one who tried to edit the article must have added his/her flavour by adding this word “suicide”, which is absolutely inappropriate. Recommend

  • Muhammad Feroz Khan

    People should write on these topics as well;

    * Women can’t vote in many parts of Pakistan.
    * Feudal, Jagirdars and Waderas can only contest Elections and WON in many Parts of Pakistan,
    * Political parties are doing heredity politics. (All Parties except MQM)
    * Politics of egoism is prevailing.

    But people only talk about Karachi Karachi and Karachi, Moreover one things is for sure no one loves this city no one Owns this city but they rancor against one political party…it’s a shameRecommend