KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday issued a notification regarding the electoral success of Ismail Rahu, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate who won the recent by-poll in PS-59, Badin.
Defeating the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate Nawaz Chandio, Rahu, who also heads the PML-N in Sindh, has completed a hat-trick on winning the seat.
According to official sources, he is likely to take oath in the current session of the Sindh Assembly. “After the notification is issued, the candidate can come anytime to take the oath,” said GM Umar Farooq, the assembly’s secretary.
The by-election was held on March 15 this year after the Hyderabad election tribunal disqualified Chandio in April 2015. Rahu had challenged his victory in the May 2013 general elections on charges of rigging.
The by-polls proved to be a challenge for the ruling PPP as Zulfikar Mirza, the dissident PPP leader, and Rahu formed an alliance.
“Rahu belongs to the PML-N but he won the by-polls because of his personal influence and the support of Mirza, otherwise his party has no influence here,” said Suleman Mandhro, a local journalist.
Rahu, whose family is popular for waging struggles for the rights of peasants in Sindh, left his father’s party, Awami Tehreek (Rahu group), and joined PML-N in 1996.
His father, Fazil Rahu, was a popular peasant leader and was assassinated in 1987 in his village Rahuki, Badin.
“I initially attempted to pursue my father’s mission on the platform of a socialist party, but the situation changed after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, so I joined a mainstream political party,” Rahu told The Express Tribune.
He contested his first election in 1988, and lost to a PPP candidate. He won the provincial assembly seat for the first time in 1991 as an independent and joined the Jam Sadiq-led cabinet as minister for mines, minerals and livestock.
He lost the seat in 1993 but won it again in 1997 as a PML-N candidate. Soon after winning the polls, the PML-N formed a coalition government in Sindh and Rahu was given the excise and taxation portfolio in the Liaquat Jatoi-led cabinet.
After the 1999 coup, as the PML-N leadership left the country, Rahu, among several others, was put in jail for two years. He was also detained by the National Accountability Bureau.
“I could not contest the 2002 elections because I was in jail. My sister contested but she could not win,” he said.
“My father dedicated his life for the poor, especially the peasants, and rendered the greatest sacrifice - that of his life. His devotion can be measured from the fact that he allotted his own land to the poor and facilitated the landless hari to acquire government land,” he said, adding that the people of his constituency still love their family because of his father’s struggle for the less-privileged.
“I am also trying to follow the mission of my father in my own capacity,” he explained.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2016.