Farooq Sattar, PTI or MQM: Who will win NA-245 contest?

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KARACHI, Aug 20 (DNA): The by-elections for the NA-245 seat that fell
vacant after the death of PTI’s Aamir Liaquat will be held on August 21.

The by-election was originally scheduled to be held on July 27, however,
the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) postponed it due to torrential
rains in the metropolis.

Political parties and independent candidates made intense last-minute
efforts to garner more and more public support as the election campaign,
which severely hampered by monsoon rains, concluded at midnight on
Saturday.

A total of 15 candidates belonging to different political parties are
contesting the by-election from the National Assembly constituency 245.
Among them the most prominent are Farooq Sattar (Indp) PTI’s Mehmood
Baqi Moulvi, MQM’s Moeed Anwar and PSP’s Syed Hafeezuddin.

The constituency comprises Jamshed Quarters, Pakistan Quarters, Martin
Quarters, PECHS, Lines Area, Soldier Bazaar, New Town, Patel Para,
Garden West, Martin Quarters, Teen Hatti, PIB Colony, etc. As many as
166,869 votes were cast in this constituency.

The ECP has set up 263 polling stations. Of these, 203 are declared
highly-sensitive while rest are sensitive. There are around 515,000
registered voters in the constituency who will exercise their right on
Sunday.

The NA-245 by-poll is expected to be a three-way contest between Farooq
Sattar, PTI’s Mahmood Maulvi and MQM-Pakistan’s Moeed Anwar.

The MQM-Pakistan candidate enjoys the support of its allies in the
coalition government in the center. In 2018 General Election, Aamir
Liaquat Hussain had defeated Dr. Farooq Sattar by securing 56,673 votes.

According to individual statistics, late Dr. Aamir Liaquat had defeated
the MQM candidate by 21,244 votes, TLP’s by 35,936, and MMA’s by 36,530
votes.

Enjoying strong position in the constituency after support from
different parties, the MQM-P, however, faces a new challenge as its
disgruntled leader, Dr Farooq Sattar is also contesting as an
independent candidate.

PPP, PML-N, JUI-F and ANP have withdrawn their candidatures and threw
their support behind MQM’s candidate in accordance with a decision taken
by the federal ruling coalition.

But, according to some political experts, the MQM-Pakistan, which
repeatedly alleged that its mandate in Karachi had been stolen in the
2018 elections, now has to prove that by winning this seat, especially
at a time when PTI’s popularity is at its peak.

They were of the view that TLP and the PSP would divide the anti-PTI
votes. This means MQM-Pakistan is facing a tough challenge.

Pakistan Quarters Jamshed Quarters, Martin East, Martin West, and
Jahangir Quarters are all part of Karachi’s Federal Quarters that were
built on state land for government servants at the time of Partition in
1948.

As the federal capital at the time of the independence, Karachi suffered
from a severe housing shortage. To address the problem, the government
built a number of ‘quarters’ – small residential units – between 1948
and 1952.

There are around 4,000 housing units in all of them and they occupy a
total of 273 acres of land in Karachi’s East and Central districts.

Complaints about them have been making rounds in various state
institutions, including the courts, since the 1970s.

In 1971, some retired employees approached Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who, at
the time, was the president of Pakistan. They asked him to give them
ownership rights of the quarters. On May 2, 1972, Bhutto approved a
proposal for the construction of “decent multi-storied buildings” but
the plan never materialised.

On September 15, 1989, the federal cabinet once again decided that they
be given ownership rights. On April 5, 1991, the National Assembly’s
deputy speaker, federal housing minister and a couple of senators made
the same announcement in a joint press conference. In 2007-08, the
ministry of housing sent certificates to those who were deemed eligible
to become the owners of their quarters.

The issue came into the limelight once again in 2018 when former CJP
Saqib Nisar ordered authorities to vacate the federal quarters.  At
least 16 people, including six police personnel, were injured as a
result of clashes which broke out after residents were asked to vacate
Pakistan Quarters.

It is 2022 now and serving and retired government employees still did
not get ownership of their quarters.

While speaking exclusively to a private television channel, Muttahida
Qaumi Movement-Bahali Committee (MQM-BC) head Dr Farooq Sattar said that
all the previous governments had promised to give ownership rights to
residents of federal quarters but it was not implemented even MQM was
also part of the different federal governments but failed to resolved
the issue due to several reasons.

To a question asked about why Federal Quarter residents should vote for
him as he too failed in resolving the matter despite being a part of
different govts in past, Farooq Sattar said: “When police operation was
launched against residents of federal quarters in 2018 PTI government,
no one came forward in support of the people. Neither late Aamir Liaquat
came who was MNA from this constituency, nor Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui or
JI’s Hafiz Naeem raised voice for them. It was Farooq Sattar who stood
with them for the whole day. They are like my family and will definitely
vote for me in by-polls.”

To a question, Sattar said that like other areas of Karachi, NA-245 also
faces problems like sewerage and water shortage issues. He called for
forming a parliamentary committee of MNAs which should look over
development works and later the committee should convert into the
Karachi Urban Development Commission by legislation.

“All stakeholders should be included in the Karachi Urban Development
Commission for the resolution of issues and early completion of the K-IV
project,” he said and added that Sewerage Treatment Plant (TP3) and TP2
Mehmood had been constructed during my tenure and these all plants are
non-functional.

When asked about his possible return to MQM-Pakistan, Farooq said that
he tried his best to return to MQM by neglecting all differences. Sattar
said that he called for injecting new blood into the party but it looks
impossible now. He also claimed that Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) was given a
lollipop by Sindh government on Local Government law issue.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Mahmood Maulvi Afridi was
confident that PTI will once again emerge victorious from this
constituency.

PTI would win the NA-245 seat again, he said, adding that people knew
that only the PTI could solve the problems of Karachi.

He remarked that the people of Karachi had been suffering because of the
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan
(MQM-P), and the residents of NA-245 would teach them a lesson on the
day of the by-election.

He claimed that it was PTI that resolved the issue of federal quarters
in 2018 when then prime minister Imran Khan approved a lease for a
period of 54 years.

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