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Jamaat-e-Islami emerged as most popular party of Karachi: analysts

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Senior journalists, analysts acknowledge JI’s strong political strategies attracting Karachiites

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman addresses a public rally in Karachis Bagh-e-Jinnah on January 28, 2024. — Facebook/Khijamaat
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Emir Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman addresses a public rally in Karachi’s Bagh-e-Jinnah on January 28, 2024. — Facebook/Khijamaat
  • Survey showed JI’s high popularity in Karachi constituencies: Hamid Mir.
  • Karachiites preferred JI, Hafiz Naeem instead of PTI, others: Shahzeb.
  • Suhail Warraich highlights “JI’s strategy to hail local leaders, candidates’.

Analysts declared the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) as the most popular party of Karachi — the provincial capital of Sindh — ahead of the nationwide elections set to take place on February 8.

The politico-religious party has left behind its previous political pattern of joining hands with multi-party alliances following bitter experiences and decided to contest local and nationwide polls on its own election symbol “scale” (tarazu) in a bid to return to its original status and separate identity.

Geo News aired a special transmission related to the election 2024 in which some of the renowned journalists, political analysts and anchorpersons including Hamid Mir, Shahzeb Khanzada, Shahzad Iqbal, Suhail Warraich and Irshad Bhatti acknowledged JI and its Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman’s performance and political movements.

While expressing his views in the special transmission, Mir said: “The Jamaat-e-Islami claims its popularity among masses in several constituencies based on Plus Consultant’s recent survey. The political party’s popularity increased after the recent rainfall and a powerful social media campaign favouring the Jamaat-e-Islami.”

Shahzeb, speaking on the same show, pointed out a major shift of voters towards the politico-religious party from the Imran Khan-founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) in Karachi before and after the local government (LG) elections.

“The latest survey after the LG polls stated that Karachiites made their top priority to elect JI and Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman instead of the PTI or any other party even though the former ruling party won several seats from the port city, the host of Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath said.

Senior analyst and columnist Mazhar Abbas opined that the heavy rainfall in the port city would give a political advantage to the JI Karachi after the party adopted a new strategy two to three years ago by focusing on raising a strong voice on core issues of the economic hub of Pakistan.

Mazhar added that questions were also raised on the party’s new strategy, however, he admitted that the entire politics of Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi revolves around Hafiz Naeem despite several famous political personalities contesting the upcoming general elections on JI’s ticket.

Highlighting another strong political scheme of the politico-religious party, the analyst said, “Hafiz Naeem is contesting on two National Assembly (NA) seats from Karachi, one from his constituency North Nazimabad and another from Orangi Town. According to the politician, his party raised major issues to Biharis and he is eyeing to get maximum votes from Orangi Town.”

“Hafiz Naeem had been stopped from becoming Karachi mayor through rigging, whereas, [Pakistan Peoples Party leader] Murtaza Wahab grabbed the mayoral post despite his lacked numbers,” another analyst Irshad Bhatti said while talking to the special transmission.

He slammed the election commission over its failure to conduct municipal elections in Islamabad and stop rigging in the Sindh LG polls.

Suhail Warraich, who also appeared in the same show, pointed out that the politico-religious party changed its political strategy in light of past experiences. “We usually didn’t see names and photos of JI’s heads in the previous election campaigns. They have changed the pattern by hailing local leaders and candidates instead of just promoting the central leadership.

“This is why you will see pictures of Hafiz Naeem everywhere in Karachi and Maulana Hidayatur Rehman in Gwadar — Balochistan. It is a major change in JI’s strategy to bring forward whoever is the son of soil.”

Warraich also stressed that JI candidates in all constituencies would have a good reputation as people know them personally in their respective areas and neighbourhoods.

In the forthcoming general polls, the Siraj-led JI fielded a record 243 candidates on 272 NA seats.

Moreover, a record 531 candidates from the party are running for 596 provincial assemblies’ seats, in a significant move that might increase their presence in national and provincial assemblies. 

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