29 Jan 2024
Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto holds a distinctive record as the first elected Member of the National Assembly (MNA) from both Karachi and Lahore.
Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and known as the city of Quaid, has historically been a focal point for political activity. Many prominent political and religio-political figures in national history have been elected from Karachi in general elections spanning from 1970 to 2018.
However, Benazir Bhutto holds a unique distinction as the first elected Member of the National Assembly (MNA) from both Karachi and Lahore, two major cities in Pakistan.
In the 1988 general elections, she secured victories in Karachi's NA-189 constituency and Lahore's NA-94 constituency, making her the first woman to be elected as an MNA from these cities.
This historic achievement marked her political significance in both urban centers.
In NA-189 Karachi, Benazir won with a substantial margin against Jamshed Ahmad Khan of Islami Jamhuri Ittehad, in which she received 62,046 votes compared to Khan's approximately 10,000.
Similarly, in Lahore's NA-94, she defeated Mian Umar Hayat by polling around 53,000 votes against Hayat's 43,000.
Benazir's return to Pakistan after exile in 1986 (to Lahore) and 2007 (to Karachi) garnered historic receptions from both cities.
The other notable personality, Khush Bakht Shujaat, representing the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), secured an MNA from NA-250 in the 2008 general elections.
Nasreen Jaleel of the MQM also contested but lost the election after a close contest to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Abdul Sattar Afghani. However, she holds the distinction of being the first and only District Naib Nazim of Karachi which she became in 2005. She also later served as a senator.
Fauzia Begum, an MQM candidate, was the first woman elected as a Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Karachi in 1993 (PS-79).
Other women who have run for general elections in Karachi include Bilqees Mukhtar, Safiya Naz, Muneera Shakir, Rahila Tiwana, Naz Baloch, and Irum Wahab, although they did not secure victories.