NA-240 Karachi by poll: MQM-P narrowly escape defeat in a nail biting contest

After many twists and turns throughout the night-MQM defeated TLP with a margin of mere 65 votes to retain the seat 

MQM –P won a nail biting contest in NA-240 by poll.  MQM-P retained the seat with narrow margin of just 65 votes against TLP.  MQM-P won this seat in 2018 general elections with a big margin of more than 30,000 votes.  The TLP was runner up.

According to the results announced by the regional election commissioner Nadeem Haider MQM-P’s Muhammad Abu Bakar had won the by election after polling 10,683 votes. The TLP candidate, Shahzada Shahbaz, became the runner-up after securing 10,618 votes.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi’s Syed Rafiuddin, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Nasir Rahim Lodhi and Pak Sarzameen Party’s (PSP) Shabbir Qaimkhani were able to poll 8,383, 5,248 and 4,797 votes respectively.

There was many twists and turns throughout the night. MQM-H took an early lead against TLP and MQM-P. Then TLP maintained a narrow lead over MQM-P till the last few polling stations. The last 8 polling stations give 65 votes victory margin to MQM-P.

This election result shows that nothing could be taken for granted. MQM-P expecting to win this seat with comfortable margin but opposite has happened. The low turnout made this contest much closer than many thought. MQM-P failed to mobilise its voters in this constituency which considered its stronghold. It is a worrying sign that MQM-P’s victory margin has come down from 30,000 to mere 65 votes. It is a real matter of concern for MQM-P.

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) came very close to win its first National Assembly seat. TLP has once again proved that it is a force to reckon in Karachi. TLP is still maintaining a support base in Karachi among the Bralevi religious voters. TLP still has a chance to clinch this seat in a recounting. The margin of victory is so small that recounting can change the result. 

PSP of Mustafa Kamal finished at fifth place behind PPP. Despite making tall claims, PSP failed to impress voters in this constituency. In the absence of PTI and JI from the contest, PSP  had the chance to win over the anti-MQM voters. But PSP failed to mobilise support for its candidate. 

If this trend holds till the next elections, then the real contest will be between MQM-P, TLP and MQM-H. A three way close contest is expected in the next general elections. 

                                                                         Khalid Bhatti 

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