Aug 24, 2016 (MAMOSA Report) — Amid charges of treason and anti-state activities against Altaf Hussain and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), its imprisoned leader Waseem Akhtar won the Karachi’s mayoral election on Wednesday while Arshad Vohra (also from MQM) was elected Deputy Mayor of Pakistan’s financial capital, according to unofficial results.
The elected mayor of Pakistan’s financial capital and port city who was arrested last month on several charges, arrived in an armored police vehicle at the British-era Karachi Metropolitan Corporation building to cast his vote in the final round of elections that has his party in an unassailable lead.
MQM’s grabbing the top posts of the metropolis’ local government amid power shift from London to Karachi (Altaf Hussain to Dr. Farooq Sattar) is significant, according to several observers, and “will determine framing of the responses from all sides,” wrote Dawn in its editorial a day before.
It wrote: “Today’s local bodies elections will show what the voters think of this episode, and we will see how far the party’s base will be swayed by the tsunami of abuse it has been subjected to in the media since Monday night, and the consequent split effected by its Karachi leadership at their historic announcement on Tuesday. This is the key to framing the response.”
The Mayor-elect who belongs to the city’s largest political party, after winning the poll said, “I congratulate the people of Karachi for the victory today. This is Karachi’s victory given the tough times we have been facing,” the mayor-elect said while speaking to the media soon after he won the mayoral election.
“It will be written in the history because elections have never happened like this ever before,” he added.
On how he will run the mayor’s affairs while being imprisoned, he said: “I will request the chief minister Sindh to either give me an office at the Central Jail or pass a law so that I can solve people’s issues.”
Akhtar will run the teeming metropolis via “video link” from his prison cell, his lawyer has said.
“He will open an office in jail and via video link he will conduct council sessions,” Mahfooz Yar Khan, Akhtar’s lawyer, told reporters outside the council building as his client voted inside. “He can run Karachi via video link for five years.”
The city picked its mayor almost eight months after the much anticipated local government elections, that took place on 5 December 2015.
The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) council comprises 308 seats. MQM has more than 214 seats in it.