Shifting loyalties dominate political scene in Ghotki

Efforts under way to unite Mahar family divided in PPP and GDA camps


Z Ali June 22, 2018
Ali Gohar Khan Mahar. PHOTO: FILE

HYDERABAD: Former Sindh president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Nadir Akmal Laghari, who last year joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has withdrawn from the electoral contest.

Laghari, who was expecting the party ticket, opted out of the race from NA-204 constituency in Ghotki district where the PPP has nominated Khalid Ahmed Loond as its candidate.

"My withdrawal seems to have pleased my opponents but I have done so under a strategy," he told the media in Ghotki. However, he did not shed light on his strategy and its objective.

Ghotki district, which has two seats of the National Assembly (NA) and four of the Sindh Assembly, is likely to witness a contest between the PPP and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), which is yet to finalise its candidates for the district.

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The GDA in Ghotki is led by Ali Gohar Khan Mahar, who was elected to the NA on the PPP ticket in the 2013 elections. Laghari has announced his support for Gohar, instead of Loond who is the PPP candidate. Loond and Laghari are reportedly at odds.

"I am in alliance with [Ali Gohar Khan] Mahar and this alliance will continue," said Laghari. He hinted that his nominated candidate was likely to get the GDA ticket for PS-19.

According to local sources, the influential Mahar family, which is right now divided in the PPP and GDA camps, is trying to unite on one platform. "The platform is likely to be the GDA," a politician told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity.

Gohar, who heads the Mahar family, has joined the GDA and has been authorised by GDA chief Pir Pagara Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi to select the GDA candidates in Ghotki. However, his brother Ali Nawaz Khan alias Raja Mahar and cousin Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar, who served as the Sindh sports minister in the last government, are still with the PPP, which has awarded them tickets to contest from PS-21 and PS-20 respectively.

"Ali Gohar has recently visited Muhammad Bux's residence along with the family's elders. He is trying to convince both his cousin and brother to leave the PPP and join the GDA," a source said, adding that the dust will settle in a few days.

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There were earlier unconfirmed reports that the Mahar family had reached a quid pro quo with the PPP for NA-205 and the two provincial constituencies within it, PS-20 and PS-21. Under that agreement, the two PPP candidates contesting the provincial seats would support Ali Gohar's candidate from the GDA in the NA constituency, while Gohar would support them for the provincial seats.

Taking notice of such reports, PPP leader Faryal Talpur reportedly called Nawaz and Bux for a meeting and asked the former to file nomination papers for NA-205. It has been reported that Nawaz refused the offer. However, both of them pledged that they would support PPP's candidate in the constituency.

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