HYDERABAD: The anti-Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) camp in Qasimabad remains divided as two key leaders of nationalist parties contesting from PS-62 have failed to reach an agreement. Qasimabad is an urban town in Hyderabad district inhabited by middle class Sindhis from across the province and is often referred to as mini Sindh.
The division within nationalist parties is brightening the prospects of former local government minister Jam Khan Shoro who is seeking re-election on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket from PS-62, which was earlier named PS-47 before the new delimitations.
The daunting split in the nationalists' camp owes to an enduring dissension between two leaders -Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (STP) Chairperson Dr Qadir Magsi and Qaumi Awami Tehreek President Ayaz Latif Palijo. The latter is also the general secretary of the anti-PPP alliance in Sindh, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).
Both the nationalist leaders have filed nomination papers to run from the same constituency where they have been living along with their families for decades.
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Efforts were made by opponents of Shoro to unite the two leaders against him, however, they have so far not borne fruit.
Besides PS-62, Dr Magsi has also landed in the electoral fray from NA-213 in Shaheed Benazirabad district, throwing down the gauntlet on PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. Palijo, however, has filed nomination papers only from PS-62, in which he contested against Shoro in the 2013 general elections, bagging the second highest votes at around 15,000. Shoro received around 26,000 votes.
Palijo has also won support of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in addition to local political figures. The MMA withdrew on Wednesday its candidate, Azam Jahangiri, for Ps-62 and promised to take part in door-to-door campaign with the GDA leader.
On Thursday evening, Palijo paid a visit to Dr Magsi at his residence and requested him to withdraw. The meeting created a wave of happiness in the anti-PPP camp. The social media brimmed with comments urging the two leaders to unite against the PPP.
However, the two leaders could not reach an agreement though they amicably discussed the constituency's politics. Friday was the last day to withdraw from the polls and the STP leader did not pull back from the elections.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Magsi said he refused to withdraw from the constituency in the meeting. "I told him that it's not an appropriate time to ask for the treat. We should rather have met to decide as to who shall stand from Qasimabad before the electoral process had begun."
Dr Magsi added that in 2013, he did not file his nomination to contest from Qasimabad so that the undivided vote could be polled to Palijo. "This is the time for him to reciprocate by letting me fight Shoro in Qasimabad." He asserted that even on the basis of merit, he was more qualified to contest from Qasimabad than Palijo.
He went on to criticise Palijo for deviating from the political ideology of his father, the late Rasool Bux Palijo, and shaking hands with the feudal lords of the GDA. The STP chief deplored that he was being subjected to an abusive social media campaign, tacitly suggesting that the GDA leader was responsible for his defamation.
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"The feudal chief ministers like Muzaffar Shah, Ghaus Ali Shah and Arbab Ghulam Rahim and several former feudal ministers are part of the GDA. Throwing Sindh in the hands of one group of feudal lords from the other group isn't acceptable."
Dr Magsi claimed that Shoro had been receiving public wrath in Qasimabad and that he would not win even if both of them, Dr Magsi and Palijo, contested against him separately.
On the other hand, Palijo, while talking to The Express Tribune, said he would no longer remain a part of the electoral process if he retired from PS-62. "Dr Magsi can still contest from NA-213 [if he withdraws from PS 62]."
Responding to criticism over his association with the GDA, he reminded Dr Magsi that he himself was also part of the 10-party alliance in 2013. The alliance was led by GDA President and chief of Pakistan Muslim League - Functional Pir Pagara Sibghatullah Rashdi.
Palijo, however, announced unconditional support for Dr Magsi in NA 213 even if the latter did not reciprocate in PS-62.
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