HYDERABAD/ KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) managed to retain its supremacy over Sindh's political field, securing a simple majority in the provincial assembly as well as managing to clinch 40 seats in the National Assembly - more than what it had managed in the 2013 general elections.
The PPP, however, suffered a blow in some areas where its top hierarchy lost seats in what were considered 'safe' constituencies. In the biggest upset for the party, its chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, lost the Lyari-based NA-246 seat to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate, Abdul Shakoor Shad. Bilawal did manage to secure victory on NA-200, Larkana, beating his closest rival, Rashid Mehmood Soomro, of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, by over 30,000 votes.
PPP cries foul after PML-N, demands extension in polling time
Meanwhile, the party has swept the elections in Sukkur, Kashmore, Dadu, Jamshoro, Thatta and Kamber Shahdadkot districts where none of its oponents could manage to secure a single seat. Most heavyweights running against the PPP under the umbrella of the Grand Democtratic Alliance (GDA) lost even their home constituencies.
In Karachi, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf managed to break the Muttahida Qaumi Movement's long-established control over the city and clinched the majority of the National Assembly seats from the city. All major political parties, except the PTI, have alleged foul play in the results and have demanded explanations from the Election Commission of Pakistan.
There are a total of 61 NA and 130 PA seats in Sindh. According to the provisional results released by the ECP by the time this report was compiled, the PPP had managed to clinch 43 NA and 72 PS seats. Meanwhile, the PTI had won 13 national and 22 Provincial Assembly seats, with the MQM-P trailing in third place with seven national and 17 provincial seats.
Defeat in strongholds
One of the other major upsets for the PPP, besides Bilawal's defeat on NA-246, was the loss of PS-11, Larkana to GDA candidate Moazzam Abbasi. The PPP had fielded Nida Khuhro, the daughter of former MPA Nisar Khuhro, for the seat, which had remained with the PPP for the last 25 years at least. The last time someone had beaten the party was Murtaza Bhutto, the son of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was contesting against the PPP in 1993.
The PPP also faced tough competition in some districts where the GDA and other parties managed to outshine its candidates. In Jacobabad, former Senate chairman Mian Mohammad Soomro, who was contesting from NA-196, Jacobabad, defeated PPP's Aijaz Jakhrani. According to ECP's results, Soomro received 92,274 votes against Jakhrani's 86,875. PTI candidate Aslam Abro won the provincial assembly seat of Jacobabad city, defeating PPP's Zaib Panhwar.
In Ghotki, there was an interesting competition for PS-20, where two brothers were contesting against each other. The elder brother, GDA's Ali Gohar Khan Mahar secured 41,496 votes, defeating his younger brother, PPP's Ali Nawaz Khan Mahar, who bagged only 12,671 votes. Ali Nawaz Khan Mahar, in this constituency was a covering candidate of PPP and former sports minister Sardar Muhammad Buksh Khan Mahar, who is the chieftain of the Mahar tribe. Ali Mohammad Mahar who was contesting as an independent candidate from NA-205, Ghotki, defeated PPP's Ahsanullah. The PPP did manage to clinch one seat of Ghotki city by winning against MMA's Saifullah Dharejo.
Ghous Bux Mahar of GDA won the election from NA-199, Shikarpur, defeating Zulfiqar Kamario of PPP. However, Imtiaz Shaikh and Agha Siraj Durrani of PPP won their provincial assembly seats. In Kamber, all provincial and two national assembly seats were won by PPP. A similar trend was seen in Kashmore district, where the PPP has swept the elections.
In Sukkur district, the PPPP's Syed Khursheed Shah returned from NA-206, Sukkur, with 80,270 votes, defeating PTI's Tahir Hussain Shah who could manage only 51,345 votes, according to provisional results. The PPP also won all the provincial assembly seats in the district. PPPP's Nafisa Shah, who was contesting the election from NA-208, Khairpur, received 99,747 votes, defeating GDA's Syed Ghous Ali Shah who could manage only 37,765 votes.
In the same district's NA-209 constituency, PPP's Fazal Shah received 84,163 votes, defeating GDA candidate Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi, who is a former federal minister and brother of Pir Pagara. The latter could only manage 66, 120 votes. This was perhaps the biggest upset to the GDA, as it was the home constituency of the Pir Pagara family, who have lost the seat only once before in the 1988 elections.
In the 2018 elections, the PPP has even defeated electables who had been winning the polls for the last three to four decades in some cases. In Naushero Feroz Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, a strong candidate of GDA, lost to PPP's Zulfikar Ali Behan on NA-212. Jatoi, the son of former caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, is considered biggest landlord of Pakistan and has also served as a federal minister in previous PML-N government. In this constituency Jatoi received 84,361 votes, whereas the PPP candidate secured 90,266.
In Dadu, all forces joined hands against the PPP where former Sindh chief minister and PTI leader Liaquat Jatoi, along with members of his family, was contesting for the national and provincial assembly seats. The PPP swept all the seats in the district.
Liaquat Jatoi, who was contesting from NA-234, lost the seat to PPP's Ifran Zafar Leghari, while Rafique Jamali of PPP defeated Liaquat's son, Kareem Jatoi, who had served as district nazim of Dadu in General Musharraf's tenure. All four provincial assembly seats in the district have also gone to PPP.
All was not well in PPP tenure
Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah
The Pakistan Peoples Party continued to sweep the polls in the districts of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah divisions for the third consecutive general election. The party won 21 out of 25 National Assembly seats and 45 out of 54 Sindh Assembly seats in the three divisions.
Over half a dozen upsets in the election results also occurred in Sanghar, Badin, Noshehro Feroze, Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad for PPP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Grand Democratic Alliance. The GDA and MQM-P won two seats each of the NA while the former bagged five PS seats and the later, three. An independent candidate has also been elected from Mirpurkhas.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, Pak Sarzameen Party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and other political parties failed to win even a single seat.
The PPP secured one NA and three PS seats in Hyderabad making inroads for the first time in MQM-P's Latifabad which has remained the party's heartland since the 1988 elections. The former's Abdul Jabbar Khan defeated the latter's Younus Gaddi, bagging 21,880 votes against 18,281 votes in PS 64. MQM-P's candidates were elected on two NA and three PS seats from Hyderabad.
The PPP defeated MQM-P in another of the latter's stronghold in Mirpuirkhas, the urban based PS-47 constituency. The party's Hari Ram was polled 33,201 votes while the runner-up, Mujeebul Haq, got 23,506 votes. However, the PPP itself suffered a setback in Mirpurkhas by losing the NA-218 constituency to an independent candidate, Syed Ali Nawaz Shah, a former PPP stalwart who left the party after he was denied the ticket.
Shah received 75,792 votes against 67,552 of Pir Hassan Shah. Another NA seat as well as all the four PS seats in Mirpurkhas went to the PPP.
The PPP was deprived of two more seats, NA-230 and PS-72 in Badin, by its dissident Mirza family which contested from the GDA's platform. The former speaker of the National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza secured a marginal victory, bagging 96,875 votes while the PPP's Sardar Haji Rasool Bux Chandio got 96,015 votes.
Her son and former PPP MPA Hasnain Mirza was also elected with 43,111 votes while the opponent Syed Ali Bux alias Pappu Shah recevied 35,588 votes. Among the two NA and five PS seats in the district, the PPP triumphed on one NA and four PS seats although the election campaign in the district suggested larger gains for the GDA. Dr Mirza's husband and former home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and her other son, Hassam Mirza, were overpowered in PS-74 and NA-229, respectively.
Nevertheless, in the game of numbers, the loss of the two seats was compensated to the PPP in Sanghar district where it gained a historic win against the spiritual Hurr Jamaat headed by the GDA's president Pir Pagara Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi. Naveed Dero achieved a slender win against GDA's Haji Khuda Bux Rajar, obtaining 77,812 votes while the latter got 77,227 votes in NA-215.
Additional reporting by Mudaser Kazi
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2018.
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