KARACHI - Political vacuum in Karachi created due to divide in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has provided an opportunity to various local parties to flex their muscles.

Once mighty Muttahida was earlier split into MQM-P and Mustafa’s own party when its founder was barred from heading the party and recently it was divided into the Sattar-led faction PIB and Amir Khan’s Bahadurabad group.

The District Central is considered the stronghold of MQM-P as it had won all union councils in last local bodies elections and even won the seat of NA-246 despite facing immense pressure from political and other fronts.

However, the divide provided room to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the MQM-Haqiqi that are cashing in on the situation to make vote bank.

This would not be the first time any party tried to reach out to the people in the area and gather support as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has given tough time to the MQM-P in last general elections. However, the PTI failed to orgnaise its party in the area.

Now, the PPP has announced holding a public gathering in the district after nine years on April 15, while Afaq Ahmed’s the MQM-Haqiqi – the arch rival of MQM-P – is also in action after almost two decades.

MQM-Haqiqi Central Leader Khalid Hamidi told The Nation said that the party has decided to organise public gathering at Liaquatabad Bridge and submitted application for the purpose.

He said that every political party have right to show strength in any area but Karachi political history pointed out the Mohajir voters do not vote to a non-Urdu-speaking candidate.

He said that decision to hold public meetings there was taken after successful gatherings in Haqqiqi-dominated areas.

MQM-P leader Aminul Haque said that they do not oppose political activity from any party in any constituency and believe in democratic norms.

He said any attempt to impose an artificial setup on the masses would not work and the ballot papers would once again prove it as it had proved in past. “There is romance of two things in urban centres of the province – one is the MQM and the other is kite,” he said.

He said that except the elections in 2008, the party had contested polls in difficult scenarios every time and the MQM-P activists are habitual of planning election campaigns in short time and it would also become evident in the upcoming polls.

A senior professor of political science said on the condition of anonymity that whatever was going on in Karachi ruined the political culture in the port city.

He said, “Personalities shifting their loyalties have no impact on Karachi politics. The party-abandoning process of MQM-P members in Karachi is just for media attention and those switching loyalties are not electable.”

He said most of MPAs, MNAs and even senators elected from Karachi on the ticket of MQM and moving to the other party were not even known in their respective constituencies.

The people of Karachi voted the MQM, not the personalities; he said.

“No mechanism is evolved yet from any political party to provide concrete reasons to win support”

A PSP leader told The Nation that there were number of issues within the MQM since August 23, 2016 like lack of trust, security concerns and lack of leadership.