Who could become Karachi’s next mayor?

With results of all the areas of the second phase of local government elections still filtering in, there is a chance that the polls could swing towards the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) or Jamaat-e-Islami. Which ever way it goes, there are a few obvious choices for mayors of the country’s largest city.

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With the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and JI the two leading parties, it can be safely expected that the next mayor of Karachi will likely emerge from either one of these parties.

Role of reserved seats

Before we take a look at the candidates, it is important to look at a small provision in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013, whereby some candidates written off due to their performance in the polls, could see a miraculous return and become the next mayor of the city.

In the second round following the direct election, the elected members would choose candidates for the reserve seats.

Once these ‘unelected’ members are sworn in, the mayor, deputy mayor, and town chairman would be chosen by the elected house.

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) house would have 367 members, 246 of whom have been elected directly and 121 via reserve seats.

Top candidates for Karachi mayor

Dr Murtaza Wahab

A stanch activist of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the son of late PPP stalwart Fauzia Wahab, he belongs to a prominent political family of the city.

He is a barrister by profession. But his greatest claim to the seat of mayor is that he served as Karachi’s administrator for nearly three years.

Saeed Ghani

Ghani is the head of PPP for Karachi Division.

During General Pervez Musharraf era, he had served as a UC chairman and was considered to be a firebrand critic against then city Nazim (mayor) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) member Mustafa Kamal.

Ghani is currently serving as a provincial minister and president of Karachi division.

Syed Najmi Alam

Syed Najmi Alam is a seasoned leader of the PPP.

The Sindh government had even appointed him as the chairman of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) recently.

Hafiz Naeemur Rehman

The chief of JI for Karachi, Rehman has been leading his party’s campaign, resulting in an overwhelming turnout in the polls.

He is considered to be a stanch advocate of the city.

Should the JI manage to get into a position where they can form the local government, Rehman will undoubtedly be a the strongest choice for mayor.

Khurram Sher Zaman

The PTI leader is still reeling from the embarrassment of losing the vote for the union council in Saddar to PPP candidate Najmi Alam.

However, he could vie for the mayor’s slot by managing to get into the local council on the reserved seat.

His chances of becoming a mayor, however, are quite slim given that the PTI – even though bagging substantial number of seats in the city, has failed to gain enough seats to dictate terms.

The only scenario where he as a chance is if PTI can leverage its position with the JI. But in that scenario, it is unlikely that the JI will relent its stronger position.

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