The by-election was earlier scheduled to be held on September 22. The seat had fallen vacant after the assassination of Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislator Syed Raza Haider in a Nazimabad mosque on August 2.
Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Hamid Ali Mirza re-fixed the polling date in view of a report of Sindh home secretary in which he stated that the MQM leaders and workers were in a state of grief after the assassination of Dr Imran Farooq in London and they were observing 10 days of mourning.
Though the Awami National Party (ANP) and the MQM — both coalition partners of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party in the Sindh government — are the main contestants, many believe it would be a one-sided show as the constituency which comprises areas of Orangi Town has remained a stronghold of the MQM.
The Election Commission had accepted the nomination papers Saifuddin Khalid of the MQM, his covering candidates Abdul Khaliq and Maqbool Alam, ANP’s Pir Riaz Gul. Zeenat Yasmin and Adnan Ali Khan are contesting the election as independent candidates.
The PPP had not fielded any candidate, but independent candidate Mr Khan, who submitted his nomination papers from the constituency, is said to be a PPP activist.
In general elections held in 2008, MQM’s lawmaker Raza Haider won the seat by obtaining 79,634 votes, while the runner up, Syed Rais Ahmed Kazmi of the PPP, had bagged only 4,649 votes.
In the 2002 general election, MQM’s Abdul Qudoos returned successful from the constituency by securing 22,050 votes. The closest contestant, Laiq Khan of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, had got 8,037 votes.
ANP condemns decision
An ANP spokesman has criticised the postponement of the by-election on PS-94 and termed it a “dictatorial decision by an elected government”.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan should review this decision,” he said, adding: “We strongly condemn this decision, which has been taken at the behest of a particular party. Coalition parties were not taken onboard.”
He said the party leadership would meet on Tuesday to chalk-out a future strategy in this regard.