Why PTI needs to win NA-246!
Media frenzy has thoroughly surrounded the developments leading to the by-polls in Karachi’s NA-246 constituency set to be held on the 23rd of this month. The two ‘drama queens’, PTI and MQM, are facing off in an election that has the potential to redefine Karachi’s politics to say the least. I am not a supporter of either of the contesting parties, but as a nonpartisan observer I have reasons to believe that PTI must win this election in the greater political interest of Karachi in particular and Pakistan in general. The reasons are of course interwoven; nevertheless I can list down at least five reasons categorically.
1) The death of ethnic politics:
MQM stands for ‘Muttahida Qaumi Movement’; formerly it stood for ‘Mohajir Qaumi Movement’. The name change must be welcomed, it illustrates the resolve of MQM to enter mainstream national politics, which must be appreciated. Nevertheless the name change has been nothing more than a façade; the gimmick of being a national political party has been utilized to serve as a veil over their perspicuous ethnic politics. Anyone who lives in Karachi must be witness to the fact of how MQM exploits the ‘Mohajir’ card through the mediums of wall chalking, banners and posters; anyone all over Pakistan must be familiar of MQM’s behavior in this regard using the mediums of mainstream broadcast and print media. The word ‘mohajir’ has been used as a synonym of ‘MQM’ voter. On the flip side, the PTI has not aligned itself with one ethnic group, rather all the ethnicities living in Karachi are a part of their campaign in NA-246. It cannot be stressed how important it is to exterminate such ethnic politics; political entities must be voted in for their capabilities, ideologies and manifestos, not for which ethnicity they represent.
2) Downfall of Violent Politics:
If PTI manages to bag NA-246, this victory will go down in history as a win which did not employ acts of violence as an election strategy, which is a remarkable feat because of Karachi’s violence ridden electoral history. Whether it was forcing the PTI leaders to escape an assault at Jinnah Ground by MQM workers, an attack at their office in North Nazimabad or burning PTI’s flag, which by the way had ‘Pakistan’ written over it, PTI’s best reply to these provoking ferocious antics would be to win NA-246 without using any sort of violence. If PTI is able to achieve this, this will definitely mark the death of violent politics in Karachi.
3) A deterrent for political parties with militant wings
The honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan has ruled in the past that nearly all political parties in Karachi have militant wings. Law enforcement agencies are doing a remarkable job in tracking down and eliminating crime all over the city, all major stakeholders including the MQM are on-board, yet MQM is the only party that cries foul over the targeted operations. Ever since Rangers raided and arrested some most wanted criminals from the headquarters of MQM, they have opened a tirade against law enforcement agencies, the people of NA-246 need to send a strong message through this election that Karachitees support the institutions of the state and their sacrifices for peace in Karachi, anyone that supports criminal elements and provides them political vindication should be punished by the electorate.
4) No imported candidates
I have lived in Karachi for more than 14 years, I consider it to be my home. Since, I am a Karachitee myself, I feel that only another Karachitee can understand the issues that need to be addressed in order to solve Karachi’s problems. Imran Ismail turns out to be the ideal choice. MQM’s candidate Mr. Kanwar Naveed Jamil has been a former mayor of Hyderabad, he should try to fulfill his aspirations for a national assembly seat from Hyderabad. NA-246’s populace should reject all candidates that do not belong to Karachi, it has already suffered through electing PPP candidates that belonged to interior Sindh and PML-N candidates that belonged from Punjab. Karachi should be represented by a Karachitee!
5) Political co-existence
If PTI manages to win this election, it would usher a new era in Karachi’s politics, it would lead to the promotion of political co-existence. MQM has long dominated the political scene in Karachi, it has gone to great lengths to defend its dominance, often indulging in offensive and violent politics. If MQM loses this battle, it will force them to quit their worn out political rhetoric and be far more embracing towards other political realities within the metropolis. This must be a welcome result of a PTI win in Karachi, all political entities will be given space to breathe in Karachi.
Nevertheless I must state that this is only my opinion, and that the real decision can only be taken collectively by those that live in areas that come under the NA-246 constituency. I wish both the PTI and MQM the best of luck for this election and hope that whoever wins serves Karachi and Pakistan honestly.
David Frum once said ‘nobody ever won an election by spitting at his political opponents.’ He was of course referring to the US elections, lets hope the same thing can be said about Karachi, where the case is absolutely opposite. This election is an opportunity for Karachitees to turn the tables to get rid of politics of ethnicity, hate and violence.