KARACHI: Given the scarcity of water in the various neighborhoods included in the NA-249, candidates from all political parties participating in the election have been politicizing around issues facing every citizen over the past few decades.
For most voters in constituencies, the drinking water crisis is a major problem and they demand that candidates who take part in the polls come up with clear and time-bound solutions to the same.
Long lines of blue plastic drums, tubes, buckets and bottles outside the water supply tank were clearly visible in most neighborhoods in the constituency. Tankers and donkey carts were also seen selling water to residents.
In the 2018 general elections, constituency residents have voted in senior Pakistani leader Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Faisal Vawda, with Pakistan Muslim League supremo-Nawaz (PML-N) and former Punjab chief minister losing by a low margin. When Prime Minister Imran Khan made Vawda the federal minister for water resources, residents in the constituency were happy that he was able to solve their water scarcity problem.
“But like his predecessors, Vawda has also done nothing to solve the water problem in the constituency,” said Shabbir Tanoli, a resident of the Rashidabad area. Now, when Vawda resigns from the seat after casting his vote in the Senate polls and becomes a senator, the election commission has announced it is conducting polls for constituencies on April 29.
As part of their selection for the contest, all candidates running for the NA-249 seat have made water scarcity a core issue of their respective campaigns.
Syed Mustafa Kamal, chairman of the Pak Sarzameen Party and former mayor of Karachi, is also competing for constituencies. Speaking at an election rally in the constituency on Sunday evening, he told locals he understands the civilian problems, especially water scarcity, in the area, and has the ability to solve them.
“During my tenure, a 4.8 million gallon aqueduct was built for the City of Baldia,” he claims. He said 178 illegal connections and 25 hydrants were in the waterways.
Likewise, Miftah Ismail, a PML-N candidate as well as a former finance minister who is also one of the strongest candidates, admitted in his election campaign that dirty water was contaminated with chemicals mixed with safe drinking water, and had caused various diseases among residents. from the constituency.
“Now, God willing, after winning the by-election, I will come up with a plan to provide clean water, which will solve this problem forever,” he promised residents of Ittehad City at an election meeting.
Candidates for the Pakistan People’s Party and PTI, the two parties that rule in Sindh and the Center respectively, are on the defensive because the two governments have not undertaken any projects to solve the problem of water scarcity.
Jamaat-e-Islami, whose candidate came fifth in the 2018 elections with more than 10,000 votes, did not take part in the polls. Instead, they hold a rally on Sunday to try to pressure the federal and provincial governments to resolve civil issues and provide the residents of Baldia City with basic amenities, including drinking water. The rallies are part of JI’s ongoing Haq Do Karachi Ko (Give rights to Karachi) campaign. “All the political parties concerned have rushed into the constituencies as soon as the election schedule is announced, but the focus of their attention is only temporary,” said JI Karachi chairman Hafiz Naeemur Rehman. He also demanded that the government resolve the problem of prolonged water shortages in Baldia City.