Elections 2013: What’s in it for Karachi?

Published: May 5, 2013

How will Karachi prosper and progress after the elections? How will large scale infrastructure projects be undertaken? PHOTO: FILE

Elections 2013 are almost upon us. One week or so to go and the political campaign in Punjab and bomb blasts (if you happen to live in Karachi) are in full swing. “Tabdeeli” (change) and “Naya Pakistan” are the buzzwords on which these elections are being contested.

In one corner we have the mighty Imran Khan who believes that his time has come and he will lead us, the masses, to pastures green which we have never seen before. On the other hand we have the Mians of Raiwand – the Sharif who claim to be the shers (lions) who saved Pakistan in its hour of need and responded to India’s five nuclear blasts by having six nuclear blasts of our own.

Some believe that Mian’s Pakistan was all set to become an Asian tiger back in the late ‘90s when general Musharraf quite crudely took power from them, a sin for which he now faces condemnation and prosecution.

Lagging somewhere behind these two political entities is our dear prince, excuse my indiscretion, our king in waiting – His Excellency, the very honourable Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of Ghari Khuda Bux, who was born for the sole purpose of ruling over us and providing us all with roti, kapra and makaan.

Daddy dearest, along with erstwhile uncles Gilani and Raja Pervez, has done such a stellar job in ensuring that democracy is the best revenge on the people that our dear Bilawal is now too afraid to be among the people which his dear grandfather Z A Bhutto was a champion at. God bless Skype and the wonders of video calling or the word of wisdoms that Bilawal utters and the mannerism which accompanies these would well and truly be lost on us.

Jokes aside, all three parties have support and should make up majority of the numbers in the next National Assembly when it is next called in to session. These three are those who will be the majority and minority in the next government which will decide the choices we as a nation make in the not so far future.

None of these parties have a major presence in Karachi and I fail to see how the issues that people of Karachi face will in anyway be resolved by the next government without any grass root support.

Karachi is a city in which the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) has the most support. This has been reflected in election results post 1985. The MQM has been a part of countless governments at the federal level, yet the city’s problems remain unresolved.

Both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) have, during their campaigns, promised that they will address all of Karachi’s concerns and bring peace to the city. However, neither of these two political parties has undertaken any noteworthy political campaign in this city. Neither Imran Khan nor Mian Nawaz Sharif has held any political rallies in the city of the Quaid. Imran Khan was scheduled to address a public gathering on May 1 but that was cancelled on pretext of security.

With not much on-the-ground campaigning by PTI and/or PML-N in Karachi, neither of these parties stands to gain many seats in the city in the coming elections. This is despite the fact that Imran Khan is quite popular in quite a few constituencies across Karachi.

The youth in the city, especially in the well-to-do areas like DHA, PECHS, KDA, North Nazimabad, Gulshan is quite inclined to vote for the Bat but they need to be mobilised. This seems to be missing. On the ground leadership is required if the support is going to be turned in to votes on Election Day.

If this does not happen, which given the time left in the elections it probably would not, it is quite likely that the MQM will retain its mandate in Karachi and continue to be the representative of people of Karachi in the National Assembly in Islamabad and the Provincial Assembly in Sindh.

With the mainstream parties not actively contesting or campaigning in Karachi, the people of the city are, within their rights, allowed to enquire as to how the issues which concerns this mega city will be addressed by the political party which forms a government in Islamabad. Without any on-the-ground support in Karachi, the decisions taken by the government will become hard to enforce. The only logical solution would be for the MQM to become a part of the coalition government and side with the party which gains the most seats.

But will doing so solve Karachi’s problems?

Will the next government, formed by either PML-N or PTI, be able to work alongside MQM and address the issues which concern the largest city in Pakistan?

How will Karachi prosper and progress?

How will large scale infrastructure projects be undertaken?

These are some of the questions that I would like those destined to lead Pakistan in the next five years to answer prior to May 11, 2013. Karachi deserves answers.

Follow Hussein on Twitter @ansariha


Hussein Ansari

A Corporate Lawyer with core specialisation in advising clients on transactional work.He is currently working with the leading corporate Law Firm Sattar & Sattar, Legal Counsels. He tweets twitter.com/ansariha

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

  • Fahad Raza

    On May the 11th the fate of Karachi will be in your hands, no matter what come may. If you do not go to vote that day then hold your silence for 5 years upcoming. The reason is, as
    SIR Charles James Napier puts it so perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another.
    In times like these, week before the electoral day it is best to to review the performance delivered verses the promises made. Give a clear majority to the people among you who makes less promises as less promises are easier to keep a record off. The choice is simple, between who appears to look like you and who is right. Who wants your vote for himself and who needs your vote for you.
    So Karachiites, let us decide to be Governed by our own people than to be ruled by another. As we cannot afford anymore Sundays going down in strikes. !Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Yousaf_Manzoor Falcon

    Whoever ends up ruling Pakistan can not make a difference in the lives of people of Karachi unless people of Karachi themselves vote out parties with militant wings. What you have hinted on above is in fact our problem, we always need someone to ‘mobilize’ us because we are too lazy to get off the couch and go around convincing people for the change that can potentially make our lives better and safer.Recommend

  • Sher

    Karachi is such a place where people are fearful to even tell to media persons whom they are going to vote. I feel sorry and sad for the situation in karachi where gun politics has taken control. But the bottom line in these elections is that MQM will never lose its seats other than NA-250 where we can expect a good competition of khushbakht shujaat with Naimatullah khan. Its shameful that karachi people vote on ethnicity basis and i do not think it is going to change any time soon. I hope that a strong federal government comes to power and tries to make a karachi a fearless place. Recommend

  • Faheem Vazir

    Dear Hussain,

    Very well composed and written.

    We have however solutions to few of the problems. It’s just that we need to see especially in Karachi, when I am speaking about Infrastructure that even today it’s enough to bear the load. The problem lies with us. We see thailaywalas, buses, illegal occupation of extra spaces, pedestrian walkways are completely blocked, this leads to the rush.

    Speaking about future, prospects of our city. As you’ve mentioned, the Bhutto family. Since 40 years they aren’t able to provide nation of roti, kapra, and makaan.

    Kher debate goes on and on .. !!!

    In the end I have just one thing to say. I and all of us really pray that we aren’t celebrating 12th May in reaction to 11th may, you know what I mean.

    Best of luck, anghoota chalao

    Faheem Recommend

  • maleeha

    Very well written. Karachi needs serious consideration of the emerging parties but unfortunately, the city and its issues are not as such highlighted by them.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Excellent………….written in such a way that you force the reader to pause and think.Recommend

  • Asjad

    Lets hope who so ever comes in power gets the local bodies system in order and another Mustafa Kamal arrives on the scene.Simple one stop solution my friends.Recommend

  • Aijaz Memon

    Are you serious ! Karachi has no prospects what ever happens in the election. Karachi is doomed.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Sir Hussein:
    As PML-N and PTI both form local government after coming into power, then there will remain no question of who will be going to address the issues or carry developmental projects ad MQM will solely be responsible for Karachi’s administrative issues then. And judging from the past local government, Sir Mustufa Kamal of MQM has developed Karachi like no other person can even dream of. It was due to PPP’s reluctance that local bodies weren’t set-up in their government despite of the fact that MQM, being their coalition partner, has persuaded them to form local government but got in-return a reply of brazen defiance. I am quite sure that if local elections will be held by any mainstream party, MQM will again perform exceptionally zipping up the mouths of haters.Recommend

  • moderatist

    @Fahad Raza. taking Sir Napier’s logic ahead, Pakistan should not have been made since it has become quite clear that the British had been ruling us much better.Recommend

  • R

    the sad thing will be is that neither PTI nor Tehreek e insaf will a seat in karachi but would possibly form a goverment in Centre.Recommend

  • PTI fan

    People of Karachi vote on linguistic basis and then call themselves as muhajirs. Sadly after 65+ years of Pakistan they have not been able to become Pakistani.

    They should support for change and vote for PTIRecommend

  • Fahad Raza

    That is the slave mentality. We were well governed in times of Liaquat Ali Khan, then Z.A.Bhutto.
    even if for the short period of time but we were well governed. The key is Justice and honesty. That is all required in our political system.Recommend

  • Amin

    “Will the next government, formed by either PML-N or PTI”
    So confident that either will win! That’s preassumption, Hopefully neither will win! A party with liberal, secular and most important socialist mindset is needed for PakistanRecommend

  • http://brandsynario.com Brandsynario

    No matter who wins Karachi’s situation must be taken seriously, The security issues and such are lacking.Recommend

  • http://whatprice.com.pk Nasir

    Karachi’s infrastructure has been damaged so badly that even a dedicated local administration can not fix it easily.Recommend

  • Nauman


    Karachi people do not vote on ethnicity basis! Have you even been to Karachi!?? People in Karachi think more rationally than people from any other city!

    Can you please let me know a single political party besides MQM which has addressed the issues of the people residing in Karachi?

    How can you be ignorant of the fact that during the period of 2002-2007, Karachi witnessed a boom that has never taken place. It was all due to efficiency of MQM.

    Secondly, please let us know about the alternatives? I really respect Imran Khan but it was disappointing to see the cancellation of the mass gathering on the 1st of May!

    If you want to win the hearts of the people of Karachi, you need to influence at the grass root level. This is what MQM does!Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    PTI is confident over confident if i might add about winning seats from Karachi in the NA, not happening, except some fan boy youth supporters, Khan doesn’t have that much real support here unless ofcourse the policy makers at 90 help him out. They will face tough competition from JI in some of Karachi’s constitutencies where traditional MQM voters have felt they were let down, example NA 251. Recommend

  • Salman

    One thing people didn’t realize is the mandate of MQM. Its an irony that all major parties didn’t pay attention to Karachi Mega City…just because the city gave mandate to MQM. Now Mr.Sharif is claiming that he would run bullet train in Karachi, but when he was the PM he launced army operation against Karachiites. Respect the mandate of other parties. Recommend

  • Omer

    @PTI fan:
    An we will continue to do so, because we are proud of it. Recommend

  • Fahad Zia

    karachi should seceed from sindh, and all its problems will be solved.. Quota system is detroying this city.. The management has no stake in the city, so it is not sincere with it.. We need control of our city.. Only PTI can do that, by making more provinces.. Recommend

  • aaaaa


    Can’t help but notice that your history lesson stops at 2007. Ofcourse they were going to do stuff then, being a dictator’s mistress and all. What have they done in the last 5 years? Your argument is quite idiotic.Recommend

  • ashar

    Will the next government, formed by either PML-N or PTI, be able to work alongside MQM and address the issues which concern the largest city in Pakistan?


  • Raja Islam

    You are right. The problem is that the Federal government cannot do anything. Law and order and district administration belong to the provincial government. Recommend

  • mrashidhai

    I am an urdu-speaking person, to whom rest of Pakistan says ‘Muhajir’. I am not a voter of MQM. But whenever I go to my relatives in Punjab, I am supposed to be a staunch supporter of MQM and supposed to answer all the evils of MQM. To be in Punjab, and having no options I answer those intimidating questions.

    Some facts. No matter which party gets majority, it can’t form Govt in centre without the support of MQM. If MQM is given free hand, it has all the potentials to govern Karachi to its best. The era of Mustafa Kamal – the last Nazim of Karachi- is the best example of it.

    Karachi’s situation is ultra complex. It has to be dealt with precision and delicacy.Recommend

  • Omer

    Karachi has been succumbed to injuries by the ruling parties and da victim list contains innocent people of Pakistan. So dear all plz vote for a change Recommend

  • amal leo

    I came to know that 5000 ballot papers have already been stamped since wednesday by “NaMaloom” in Gulshan. I dont know what’s the latest score. This is the main issue of karachi. People like or dislike choice is only one. No party can float on the waves of Karachi except A “Titanic”. Just watch news of Landhi. supporters of ….. dont mind to caste several votes at a time and talk obout this act casually in private meetings . Change in Karachi is only a ” Deewanay ka Khawab”Recommend

  • Jilani

    Being a Asst Presiding officer, I witnessed rigging in my poling station in NA-253 near Disco bakery, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi. Results are forcefully changed, before that their was clear victory for PTI in BS & NA seats, but staff itself involved in rigging, as they were told by SOME PERSONS to do so….although I personally support JI but I’m very disappointed by this, may ALLAH bless us and protect us by these DEHSHATGARDSRecommend

  • ali ahmed

    1.Karachi should be run by people of Karachi not from Lahore or Islamabad 2.Rangers should be sent back and equal amount of police personnel be hired from karachi.3.import of police personnel from Punjab and KP should be stop as they do not offer jobs to people of Karachi.4 Stop on land grabbing and vacate the grabbed land as ordered by SC.5.City should be given its due share from the revenue it generate which is taken by Federal govt. and whatever left taken by Sindh Govt.,they all put claiim on Karachi but do not care about it.6. jobs generated in Karachi should be given to the people of Karachi as done in other parts of country but the people of Karachi are robbed of their birth right.7 the mandate of Karachi should be excepted…Karachi problem can be solved when people in Power coridor consider it as part of Pakistan in letter and sprit not for only collecting revenueRecommend