KARACHI - With the record of criminals’ activities, constituency of NA-249 will pose a challenge for the caretaker government and the law-enforcement agencies for conducting peaceful general elections.The serious issues in the constituency have been target killings and extortion which remained uncontrolled until now.The vicinity known as Old City remained disturbed during the previous government tenure where target killing, extortion and other criminal activities remained on the rise and contributed to more than 70 percent of the total crimes. In last five years, several major incidents took place in the constituency, including Ashora bomb blast in 2009 where 50 innocent people lost their lives while 100 were severely injured.NA-249 comprises the Old City areas, including Kharadar, Mithadar, Boulton Market, Ranchore Lane, Dharamsiwara, Nanakwara, Napier Quarters, Ramswami, Jubilee, Pan Mandi and some parts of Lyari Town.The old and huge population of the Memons, Marwaris, Ganchis and Gujrati exists here with significant number of Urdu-speaking, Balochs, Sindhis and Lasis.It would be a challenge for the authorities to maintain the law and order situation in the said constituency during the upcoming elections because the constituency is located in the surrounding areas of Lyari.Even police high-ups and law-enforcement agencies declined to go in Lyari before the orders of the apex court. It has been reported that number of police and ranger personnel were targeted in Lyari and adjacent localities.As the election campaign started, MQMs election office located in Kharader area was attacked by gangsters twice, leaving dozen wounded.The abduction and target killing of rival groups workers and supporters continued in the city as four among three brothers were kidnapped and killed in same place last week. In this constituency, a tough competition is expected in election 2013 where most of the seasoned political parties that boycotted last general election will be in the field to contest elections.In round of election 2002, MQM`s Amir Liaquat Hussain won the seat, scoring 30,458 votes, while PPP`s Abdul Habib Memon got 22,708 votes, MMA`s Abdul Majeed Noorani got 22,973 votes, Muhammad Iftikhar Ahmed Bhatti Qadri got 7,500 votes and PTI`s Moulana Muhammad Asghar Dars got 1,335 votes.MQM’s Farooq Sattar won the seat scoring 103,846 votes beating PPP-P`s Abdul Habib Memon, who scored 73,224 while Shabbir Abu Talib of Mutthida Majlis-e-Amal MMA scored 3,352 votes in election 2008.In election 2013, the triangular contest is expected in the said constituency, where MQM has fielded Farooq Sattar, Abdul Aziz Memon of the PPP, and a joint candidate of 10 party alliances Shah Owais Norani of the JUP.The winning party of the last elections would utilise its best efforts to regain the victory in the constituency.During last five years, the MQM has faced resistance from the Lyari gangsters in various areas of the constituency that pulled them out of the areas, closing down their party offices and forcing them to suspend political activities for the indefinite period.Whereas, the PPP with the support of banned Peoples Aman Committee, might affect the results of the upcoming elections. The leadership of the PPP nearly got success to resolve the rifts with and within the PAC by giving the tickets to the nominated candidates by the leadership of PAC.The current situation indicates that most of the rival parties of the MQM including JUI-F, JI, PML-N, PML-F, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and nationalists announced joint candidate for the constituency. The last election results proved the existence of the MQM voters in the constituency and the Memon Community had played a vital role in favour of the party.This constituency has two provincial seats PS-110 and PS-111. MQM scored 36,356 votes defeating the PPP which scored 28,388 in PS-110. Similarly, the MQM named PS-111 seats scoring 67,524 votes leaving behind the PPP with 47,717 votes.The JUP has fielded Abdul Razaq, Dilwar Khan of MQM, Yousuf Naz of PPP will contest from the provincial constituency of PS-110. HN Hammed of JI, Kaman of MQM and Adnan of PPP are contesting the election form the PS-111. It is worth mentioning here that PAC remains in a dominating position and rival political parties cannot get into most of the areas.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 27-Apr-2013 here.