Hundreds of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) workers are boiling at the choices the party’s leaders have made for allotting tickets for provincial and National Assembly seats. On Saturday, many of them gathered at the Ali Wahan toll plaza near the Rohri bypass, letting their displeasure be known to all and sundry.
The cracks appeared the day after the party decided which members to allot the coveted tickets for some National Assembly and provincial assembly seats in Sindh. Interestingly, the protest broke out over decisions which have yet to be announced formally. Led by the general secretary of PPP’s Rohri division, Nabi Bux Jiskani, and president of its Salehpat chapter, Inayat Hussain Shah, the party’s workers marched to the toll plaza with a plethora of banners. Once there, they set fire to tyres and blocked the National Highway for six hours.
The office bearers claimed that some of the party’s bitter foes have joined it to secure their own interests but the leadership has blindly been allotting them tickets instead of loyal members who can win seats handily.
They said that former Rohri nazim Aslam Shaikh has joined PPP and the party is considering him for PS-4 in Sukkur. The former district nazim of Sukkur, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, has applied for the party ticket for PS-2 in Sukkur.
The protesters felt that both Shah and Shaikh had subjected PPP workers to an “array of atrocities” during their tenures but now, the party’s leaders are welcoming them into the fold with arms wide open. The unhappy members have asked PPP leaders to give former federal minister Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah power to select people for national and provincial assembly seats. At the protest, the party’s office bearers from Rohri, Salehpat and Pano Aqil even tendered their resignations.
Former federal minister Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah had to contact the protesters and pacify them over the phone by saying that he will look into the matter. He has reportedly demanded the party’s high command to grant tickets for National Assembly and provincial assembly seats to men picked by him, including his cousin Dr Nasrullah Baloch and his nephew and son-in-law Syed Awais Qadir Shah. He is also trying to snag NA-199 and PS-4 in Sukkur for himself.
Sources claimed that the party is strongly considering Aslam Shaikh for PS-4 instead of Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah. The party has also reportedly decided to give the ticket for PS-2 to Haji Anwar Mahar, an old member with a solid record of winning seats.
One of the men disappointed by the party leadership’s decisions with regard to party tickets is the general secretary of PPP’s Sukkur city division, Dr Arshad Mughal. “I have been serving the party for more than 25 years and always apply for a ticket. I don’t know why my name has never been considered in the past elections,” he said. “Newcomers are being favoured and old, diehard workers are being ignored. This is not a good omen for the party.” This time, he has thrown his name in the hat for PS-1 in Sukkur.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2013.