KARACHI - As all mainstream political parties have geared up for the general elections 2018 going to be held on July 25, the parties that represent specific sects and religious groups have also fielded their candidates with a hope to emerge as victorious.

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), the political wing of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah; the Pakistan Rah-e-Huq Party (PRHP), an electoral front of Ahl-e-Sunnat Waljamat (ASWJ); the Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM); the Milli Muslim League (MML); and the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek are prominent amongst sectarians parties that would be contesting the polls.

The analysts believe that in a city like Karachi, people do cast their vote on sectarian basis also and each of the above mentioned parties enjoy 8,000 to 10,000 votes in every constituency as they represent a particular religious group. In the present scenario, they are in position to play a kingmaker role for getting the candidates of other parties elected rather than their own ones.

As the elections in Karachi are expected to be head-to-head owing to the division of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the biggest stakeholder of the city that had won all local bodies and general election it contested since its emergence, and the new delimitations that increased the number of seats in Karachi not in the MQM dominated areas though, around 10,000 votes of any of these parties can play a ‘make or break’ role. The mainstream parties are approaching them for getting their support but nothing has finalised yet.

However, the analysts also believe that the TLP and the ASWJ can surprise by winning few of the provincial or national seats.

After the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, who was sentenced to death in former governor Punjab Salman Taseer murder case and the issue relating to amendment of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat clause in the Election Act 2017, the TLP has emerged as the biggest Barelvi group and attracted many like-minded people.

Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi led TLP seemed to be the most active amongst the sectarian parties when it comes to the election campaign as the banners having its chief’s photos and electoral symbol ‘crane’ can been seen installed at every main point of the city. Besides, the party had also announced to contest from all 21 national and 44 provincial constituencies of the city and nominated its candidates. To expedite the campaign, the party chief will be visiting Karachi on 1st July and as per the TLP spokesman, Allama Rizvi will be brought to Quaid’s mausoleum from the Airport in a rally. He will also address the workers and attend other programs of the election campaign.

Besides, the ASWJ’s political wing PRHP can bag two or more seats from Karachi, if allowed to contest, as the party represented the people of a specific mindset. The party enjoyed a fair support in Landhi, Keemari, Nagan Chowrangi, Godhra Colony, Lasbela and some other areas of the city which is evident from the fact that its central leader Allama Aurangzaib Farooqui, had lost the election on Muttahida Deeni Mahaz platform in PS 128 by a narrow margin in 2013 general elections. Farooqui suffered a defeat from the MQM Waqar Hussain Shah by just 202 votes after the re-polling at six out of 72 polling stations.

The PRHP is quite confident and hopeful that they would emerge as the victorious from the same seat as well as from other constituencies this time around. The party spokesman Umar Muavia told The Nation that they have fielded the candidates from 21 national and provincial constituencies of the city. He said that Farooqui is contesting from two national and one provincial assembly seats as he has been awarded tickets for NA 238 comprising areas of Landhi, Cattle Colony and Ibrahim Haidery as well as for NA 248 that cover Mauripur, Hawksbay, Mawach Goth, Shershah and other adjacent areas. Besides the central leader is also the party nominee from PS 91 the provincial constituency from where Farooqui had lost the election by a narrow margin.

Others who have been awarded PRHP tickets included Maulana Shoaib for NA-237, Dr Furqan for NA 241, Allama Taj Hanfi for PS 104 and 113, Molana Tariq Masood for PS 89,  Molana Muhammad Umar Mujahid for PS 90, Hussain Ahmed Madni for PS 97, Aijazul HUq Gilgiti for PS 98, Qari Muhammad Hanif for PS 99, Abdul Sami Baloch for PS 107, Engineer Abdul Mateen Memon for PS 108 and 110, Dr Jamshed Khan for PS 112, Engineer Baber Jadoon for PS 114, Qari Khalid for PS 115, Sanaullah Farooqui for PS 116, Muhammad Ahmed Siddiqui for PS 118 and Molana Abdul Hameed Tonsvi for PS 120.

Muavia said the PRHP is contesting the polls on electoral symbol of electric, adding that they are going into the elections with even more preparation and hoped that would get far better result than the last general elections.

On the other hand, the MWM has also announced that they would not left the field open and vowed to contest from different constituencies of the city. Allama Muhammad Sadiq Jafri, the MWM secretary general for Karachi chapter said they are in talks with other parties and would announce their candidates soon after the seat adjustment with like-minded parties.