Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s Murtaza Wahab, who was elected mayor of Karachi in June, on Sunday won the union committee (UC) chairman seat from Saddar Town, as his party emerged the overall victor in local government elections held in 14 districts of Sindh.
According to unofficial results from Karachi, the PPP won five seats; the Jamaat-e-Islami two general councilor seats in Nazimabad and Jamshed Towns; the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf one UC vice-chairman seat in Saddar Town; and an independent candidate won a general councilor seat in Malir Town. Additionally, the PPP won the general councilor seat in Sanghar district, and the ward councilor seat in Shaheed Benazirabad.
Local media reported that the overall turnout remained low in almost all areas. The one exception, it said, was UC-7 of Gadap Town, where Karachi Deputy Mayor Abdullah Murad was contesting elections. Unofficial results show him securing over 10,000 votes against JI candidate Ayub Khaskeli’s 1,300. Wahab, meanwhile, secured 3,976 votes against JI candidate Noorul Islam’s 1,556.
Following amendments to Sindh’s local body laws, a major and deputy mayor can be elected to office prior to securing victory in the UC chairman elections. However, they are required to win the seats within six months of being elected.
After the preliminary announcement of results, the PPP celebrated its victory, with party leaders maintaining this proved the public trusted them ahead of upcoming general elections. Earlier, speaking to media after casting his vote, Wahab had accused the rival JI of making the democratic process controversial because it could sense its defeat. “I have said this before and I reiterate we need to stop the politics of hatred. The JI must learn to respect the mandate of others and work together for the development of the city,” he said. “You aren’t only damaging and exposing your own politics but also betraying those who voted for you,” he added.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), local government by-elections were held in Karachi, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Jacobabad, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad, Naushahro Feroze and other districts. It said polling continued on 21 seats from 8 a.m. till 5p.m, adding 163 polling stations were set up across the province, with 72 of them declared “highly sensitive” and 89 “sensitive.” In Karachi alone, 121 polling stations were set up, 42 declared “highly sensitive” and 79 “sensitive.”