KARACHI - National Assembly constituency NA-255 (Karachi) is the birth place of Muhajir Qaumi Movement, falling within district central and considered a traditional stronghold of the MQM since it contested the local council elections first time in 1988.

In an accident in 1985, 20-year-old Bushra Zaidi lost her life in this constituency. Following the incident, ethnic riots broke out giving birth to city’s most influential party which is ruling the provincial metropolis for the last 30 years.

Bushra’s death, allegedly caused by the reckless driving of a member from the other ethnic group, was used by some people as the ignition key for a major rampage. The incident escalated into the horrific Qasba-Aligarh massacre in December in 1986.

Going deeper into history one can also discover that this was a constituency where the first sign of trouble between different communities emerged after partition. When General Ayub Khan won elections against Fatima Jinnah back in 1964, his son Gohar Ayub Khan organised a victory parade. As it was passing through Nazimabad, a scuffle broke out, leading to one of the most significant ethnic clashes in the country up to that time.

The MQM was divided into two parts in 1992 including MQM-Haqiqi and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the area witnessed worst violence among these two factions of the party.

The people of this constituency cannot forget the 22 bodies of young men in 1992 when another faction of MQM called ‘Goga group’ emerged and their activist’s bodies were found dumped at different places of the city on the same day. 

The MQM lost this seat only in 1993 when it boycotted the elections. MQM’s headquarters, Nine-Zero, is just a few-kilometer away.

Most of the residents are literate and fall into the middle-income group. An overwhelming majority of them speak Urdu.

“When MQM was renamed as Mutthahida Qaumi Movement, it was difficult to contest the election on the name Muhajir Qaumi Movement,” commented Faizan Ahmed, a candidate of Muhajir Qaumi Movement.

Talking to The Nation, he added that Muhajir Qaumi Movement was contesting elections after 1992 and people of the area warmly welcomed them.

“Karachi witnessed worst bloodshed and we need peace now among all communities of Karachi,” he commented.

He said Muhajir Qaumi Movement was contesting election in the name of a separate Muhajir province and would win the election with overwhelming majority.

MQM-Pakistan’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi, Jamil Rathor from PSP, Zafar Iqbal from PPP, Mehmood Baqi Maulvi from PTI are also strong candidates contesting elections from this constituency.

The constituency includes two provincial seats – PS-127 and PS-128 while areas that fall in this constituency are Nazimabad, Liaqatabad, Sindhi Hotel, Khamosh Colony, G area Liuaqatabad, B-area Liuaqatabad, Mosa Colony, Abbasi Shaeed Hospital, Paposh Nagar, Jehangirabad, Bara Maidan, Chota Maidan, Gol Market, Nazimabad No 1 inquiry office and 2 number Nazimabad etc.

Abdul Hameed, a shopkeeper at Paposh Nagar pointed out that actually people wanted change, because they were annoyed over the bad politics of MQM, Jamat Islami and PPP. Water shortage and power outages were main issues as other parts of the city, but people of this constituency desperately needed education as ethnic violence in this constituency adversely affected education system too.

“The constituency once considered one of the most educated constituencies of Pakistan, is now way behind in this field. Young men are seen eating Gutka and Mainpuri and have no education and future,” he lamented.