The PTI on Saturday announced its support for the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) candidate in the upcoming election for the Karachi mayor’s slot.
The PTI announced the decision on Twitter, further alleging that the PPP — a top contender in the mayoral election — had been involved in pre-poll rigging and kidnapping of local government representatives.
The announcement comes amid talks between the two parties for the formation of the upcoming city and town councils and with JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman — who is also his party’s nominee for the mayor’s post — maintaining that the total number of seats required to establish a local government in the city and win the election of Karachi mayor was 184, whereas the total seats of the JI would reach 191 after coalition with the PTI.
His assessment was based on the results of local government elections in Sindh, in which the PPP had initially emerged as the winner in Karachi following the polling exercise on January 15, grabbing 93 seats, while the JI had bagged 86 seats and the PTI 40.
However, revised results in March that excluded 31 union councils brought the PPP and the JI neck and neck in the race for the mayor’s post, with the former having won 84 UCs and the latter 82.
JI says deputy mayor seat offered to PTI
Appearing confident of his win in the contest after joining hands with the PTI, Naeem told Geo News today that his party had offered the seat of deputy mayor to the PTI.
“We will be glad if they accept it. […] When we accept each other’s mandates, there is give and take,” he added while speaking to Geo News.
He also alleged that the PPP was “harassing PTI leaders, conducting raids, offering bribes [and] trying to buy them” — tactics he said were a “black stain on democracy and also destructive for their (PPP’s) government”.
Rehman claimed the JI had won in constituencies having an average of 45,000 to 50,000 voters whereas the PPP, he said, had won in areas with an average voter count of 15,000 to 20,000 voters “by conducting delimitation of its own choice”.
He further expressed his hope that the JI and the PTI can “gain [victory in] three to four more towns” after some cases pending in the high court and the Election Commission of Pakistan had been decided upon.
Responding to a query about the party’s concerns about not being given the deserved powers, Rehman cited Article 140A (local government) of the Constitution and said, “JI would not cry about its powers but will work. We will grab the powers if they (the PPP) don’t give them to us.”
He expressed his confidence that the people of Karachi would stand with the JI when they would witness the party serving the people.
PPP insists it has ‘ethical right’ to mayor seat
Separately, Sindh LG Minister Nasir Hussain Shah has insisted the PPP had the “ethical right” to have its mayor as it, he said, had won the highest number of seats.
Asserting that his party would make efforts to bring its mayor, he added that all parties should come together to run the local council, including the PML-N and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl.
Shah claimed the PPP and JI had previously decided that the mayor would be from the party with the highest numbers and the deputy mayor from the one in the second position.
Saying that he wished for them to work together on the many issues plaguing Karachi, the PPP leader lamented that Rehman had “set his mind that he does not wish to talk about anything other than mayor”.
Responding to the JI’s allegations, Shah said the PPP “cannot stop them if their numbers are complete” and it would not put any hurdles in their way, but reiterated that the PPP had an ethical right as it had a “greater number as a single party”.
He further assured the JI that the Sindh government would “give full powers” to the JI mayor if he is elected.
On the matter of PTI leaders being arrested, the provincial minister said it was a “separate matter” if they were being detained in cases of the May 9 vandalism and arson.
However, he went on to assert, “I ensure one thing that whoever they are, even if they are in the grip of law, they will be given the legal right of obtaining their vote on the election day.”