The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will land in the electoral fray for the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) with a mighty headstart.
The party has already clinched unopposed almost one-fourth seats of the union committees’ chairmen and vice-chairmen, who will elect the mayor and deputy mayor. Moreover, it has also bagged more than half of the 384 seats of the general members who are elected from the wards.
According to data based on Form-8 and figures collected from multiple returning officers, the MQM’s unopposed chairpersons and vice-chairpersons have been elected from union committees 15, 19, 24, 27, 28, 30, 33, 37, 40, 42, 50, 56, 57, 60, 62, 70, 72, 74; UCs 77, 81, 82 and 90. The party grabbed 194 wards, sweeping all the four wards in union committees 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 45, 46, 51, 57, 58, 62, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75 and 76. In several other wards, the party won unchallenged between one and three seats.
A victory for the MQM appears on the horizon despite the fact that a powerful alliance of nine political parties, named Tameer-i-Hyderabad Ittehad, has been formed to take on the party in the local government elections. The alliance includes the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazlur Rehman, Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-S and Awami National Party.
The largest number of candidates in the coalition have been fielded by the PPP, JI and JUP, followed by the PTI.
The HMC consists of City and Latifabad talukas of Hyderabad. The other two talukas of Hyderabad district, including Qasimabad and Hyderabad Rural, are represented by four separate municipal bodies including Qasimabad Municipal Committee, District Council, Tando Jam Municipal Committee and Husri Town Committee.
The HMC consists of 96 union committees, each containing four wards. The Election Commission of Pakistan has appointed four returning officers (ROs) to conduct the upcoming elections, which are scheduled for November 19 this year. Each RO has been given between 25 and 27 union committees.
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As many as 96 seats of chairpersons and vice-chairpersons, and 384 of general members were up for contest in the LG polls. The ROs rejected 28 nomination forms for the slots of chairpersons and vice-chairpersons and 151 of the general members during the scrutiny process. A total of 357 forms for the former seats and 1,152 for the latter were submitted.
The coalition leaders accused the ROs of deliberately creating hindrances for their candidates and the MQM of harassing them so that they stay out of the elections. They even claimed that one of the ROs is a former worker of the MQM and that the party won the highest number of unopposed seats from the 27 union committees, which are under his jurisdiction.
The PPP also secured an uncontested victory of chairperson and vice-chairperson from union committee five, in addition to 11 unopposed general members from different union committees. Three independent candidates and a PTI one have also won unchallenged as general members from the wards.