The major political parties of Karachi have fielded their candidates for the crucial NA-249 by-poll Baldia Town’s constituency which has 3,31,430 registered voters. The National Assembly seat was left vacant after the resignation of PTI’s federal minister Faisal Vawda who had resigned from the assembly for his Senate seat. In the 2018-general elections, Vawda had defeated PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif with a narrow margin. Vawda had secured 35,344 votes while Shahbaz, polled 34,626 votes. TLP candidate Mufti Abid Mubarak stood third after bagging 23,981 votes and MQM-P candidate Aslam Shah ranked fourth by 13,534 votes. JI’s Syed Ataullah Shah ranked fifth by securing 10,307 votes, while PPP’s candidate Qadir Mandokhel polled a mere 7,236 votes and ranked sixth in the competition. Political pundits say that for now, it would be too early to predict who will win the by-elections in NA-249. Since, the by-election will be held during Ramazan, on a hot day, which means it will be difficult for people to leave their homes to cast a ballot. But as per Daily Times’ survey, the by-elections will likely be contested between three political parties TLP, PTI and PML-N. But MQM-P and PSP may not be ruled out as Mustafa Kamal is also potentially a strong contender in the race, despite the fact that although in the general election PSP’s candidate Fouzia Hameed secured only 1617 votes. On one hand, PML-N is seeking PPP’s support while on other hand PTI has bagged MQM-P’s support, however, PML-F is asking PTI and MQM-P to withdraw its candidate in favor of the GDA in the by-elections. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan(TLP) is also facing a crisis in this by-election, as one of its key leader Ahmed Bilal Qadri is contesting as an independent candidate against the TLP’s nomination. TLP’s candidate Mufti Abid Mubarak did not show his interest in contesting the by-poll for NA-249, though Maulana Ahmed Bilal Qadri, a former TLP candidate for the NA-248 constituency comprising Lyari and the old city areas, bagged 42,345 votes, more than PPP’s chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Ahmed Bilal Qadri applied for the ticket for the NA-249 by-election. But the TLP has fielded Mufti Nazeer Kamalvi for the NA-249 by-poll. Resentful following the party’s decision, Ahmed Bilal Qadri has announced contesting the election for the constituency as an independent candidate and Qadri’s presence in the by-election will divide the TLP’s vote bank which may be benefited PTI or PML-N. TLP had also won one of the two MPA seats falling under the constituency. PML-N’s candidate Miftah Ismail, former finance minister, and the chairperson of Ismail Industries, brought some old tactics to attract voters. Ismail introduced candies bearing his face in black-and-white and captioned with the NA-249 constituency. To mobilize Pashtun voters in the constituency, the central leadership of PML-N has tasked the party’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Amir Muqam to help their candidate Miftah Ismail in his election campaign for NA-249. As per sources, PML-N’s vice president Maryam Nawaz will be visiting Karachi to lead the rally in NA-249 ahead of the polls. PTI’s Karachi President Khurrum Sher Zaman said that we have nominated local and young PTI leaders of the constituency as party candidates adding that the PTI will retain the seat after winning it with a great margin. PSP Chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal is confident that the work he has done for the people of this constituency when he was the Nazim in 2002 is still remembered, and the people are going to vote for him. PML-F Sindh Secretary General Sardar Abdul Rahim, who is aGDA’s candidate for NA-249 by-poll, said that it was because of 14 votes of the GDA, the PTI and MQM-P have been able to win four seats from Sindh in the recent Senate elections. He noted that it’s a pay-back time, and they should withdraw their candidate in the favor of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA). Political analysts say that now the ball is in people’s court, people may hold those candidates accountable through the by-election who had turned away from them after winning the last ballot. NA-249 is among the constituencies of Karachi that border Balochistan and is exclusively composed of the entire Baldia Town, divided ethnically between Pashtun, Hazarewal (Hindko) Punjabis and (Urdu-speaking) Muhajirs populated neighbourhoods with a few Baloch and Sindhi villages. There are different tribes such as the Mahsuds and Afridis as well as Kashmiris and Hazaras in the area. It also has a fairly strong religious vote bank. While talking to Daily Times people said that we are not going to elect those who have made wrong promises with us in the last polls, adding that residents of Baldia Town and Saeedabad are still deprived of the basic facilities.