Ghotki might be a tough nut for PPP to crack as influential groups cozy up to PML-N

After Mumtaz Bhutto, Mahar brothers have expressed interest in joining PML-N.

Ashraf Mughal August 16, 2012

DAHARKI: The Mahar group, which holds significant political clout in Ghotki, has decided against joining the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and is now eyeing Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz favourably.

Chakar Khan Bozdar, a leader from the group, said that Raja Khan Mahar has spoken to Mian Nawaz Sharif about joining a possible coalition between the PML-N and Pakistan Muslim League - Functional (PML-F). “The PPP will face a tough time in Ghotki as well as Ubauro during the general elections as Mumtaz Bhutto has joined PML-N,” said Bozdar. Bhutto, who enjoys widespread support among the Bhutto tribe, is known for being a strong critic of President Asif Ali Zardari as well as the PPP.

Bozdar told daily Sindh Express that the Mahar group has asked the elders of Ghotki to unite so that the grip of the PPP can be weakened. “A common candidate from the PML-N and the Mahar group will contest the general elections against a PPP candidate in Ubauro,” Bozdar predicted. “PPP workers are also dissatisfied with the party’s leadership, including MPA Jam Mahtab Khan Dahar. They might jump ship and vote for the Mahar group and PML-F instead of the PPP.” He felt that PPP has lost a lot of Hindu voters over the high-profile forced conversion case of Rinkle Kumari.

PPP might also face stiff resistance in Mirpur Mathelo, where the votes of the Leghari tribe will be decisive. The tribe feels that it has been facing great adversity since the government came into power because Sardar Nadir Akmal Leghari was blamed for the murder of Shoaib Pitafi, the nephew of PPP MPA Ahmed Ali Khan Pitafi. The elders of the Leghari tribe have reportedly been keeping in touch with the Mahar group as well as PML-F. This could weaken the influence of Pitafi and hence the PPP in Mirpur Mathelo.

Mir Khalid Ahmed Khan Lund, who is another possible PPP candidate in Mirpur Mathelo, has been known for his tenuous bond with the party. He left the party on several occasions and recently rejoined it on the insistence of MNA Khursheed Shah.

The former mayor of Mirpur Mathelo, Mir Nazir Khan Lund, told Sindh Express that his tribe will not be joining PPP-Shaheed Bhutto or Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf. “We are PPP workers. We have personal ties with several people and our meetings with them should not be misconstrued as attempts to switch allegiances.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.