The arrow hits the target in Sindh, misses elsewhere

Published: May 13, 2013
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Women voters, one (C) holding an election flyer for the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), wait for their turn to cast their vote at a polling station in Karachi May 11, 2013.  PHOTO: REUTERS

Women voters, one (C) holding an election flyer for the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), wait for their turn to cast their vote at a polling station in Karachi May 11, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

SUKKUR: 

As the results for different National Assembly and provincial assembly seats trickle in, one thing has started to become clear: Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPP) might have lost its clout across the country, but still rules the roost in Sindh.

Though the party was able to secure most seats in the province, here too there were a handful of setbacks. According to the unofficial results, PS-1 in Sukkur – considered a PPP stronghold – went this time to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) candidate Muhammad Saleem Rajput. Transgender person Sanam Fakir, who expended a lot of energy mustering support till the last vote was cast, was also vying for this seat.

In Sukkur PPP did, however, managed to secure two National Assembly and three provincial assembly seats while in Khairpur the party won a National Assembly and three provincial assembly seats. In Shikarpur, PPP won a National Assembly and two provincial assembly seats. Even though votes were still being counted in Jacobabad and Kashmore, PPP was in a clear lead for most seats.

The counting of votes in Naushero Feroze is also underway, but here it seems as if National Peoples Party has managed to vanquish PPP. In Ghotki, the influential Mahar brothers managed to secure one national assembly and two provincial assembly seats. The result of one National Assembly seat and two provincial assembly seats have yet to be announced. The contest was particularly close in NA-200, where Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar, who had PPP’s ticket for the seat, was going up against Khalid Ahmed Lund. In Larkana, the result for NA-207 was announced, where PPP’s Faryal Talpur was facing Ghinwa Bhutto of PPP – Shaheed Bhutto.

Rigging allegations emerge

Addressing a Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) press conference  on Sunday, Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, who was awarded the party’s ticket for NA-204, and Dr Safdar Abbasi, an independent candidate for NA-205 levelled allegations at PPP, saying the party was involved in widespread rigging. They also pointed to the “biased” attitude of the returning officer, saying that more than 22 hours had lapsed after the last vote was cast, but the results had not been handed over to their polling agents. “So far, results of only 63 polling stations out of 263 have been received, but the election commission has declared PPP’s Ayaz Soomro the winner with 27,000 votes,” said Rashdi.

Abbasi had similar grievances. “The results of other constituencies have not been announced as yet, but the result for NA-207, which is the biggest constituency of Larkana and Qamber-Shahdadkot, has been announced,” he said. “According to the result, PPP’s Faryal Talpur has received 70,000 votes Even PPP’s late chairperson Benazir Bhutto hadn’t received such a large number of votes from this constituency. Something fishy is going on.” Abbasi and Rashdi demanded the government to announce re-poll at all the constituencies falling within Larkana and Qamber-Shahdadkot.

Though incidents of violence took place at many places throughout Upper Sindh, the worst happened in Khairpur, where one person was killed and five others injured. The deceased, identified as Abdul Wahab Morejo, and injured were taken to Civil Hospital, Khairpur. No case has been registered as yet.

Other worries

Even though PPP’s electoral fortunes in Sindh remained more or less intact, difference between some of its leaders came to the fore during a press conference on Sunday evening. PPP Senator Islamuddin Shaikh levelled allegations at party stalwart Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah. “He tried his level best to cut the votes of my son Nauman Islam Shaikh, who was contesting for NA-198.” He added that Shah had sabotaged his own party’s shot at winning the seats, giving MQM the upper hand. He demanded PPP’s high command to take notice of this.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • A. Khan
    May 13, 2013 - 3:19AM

    Out of the big parties, PPP has been exposed as basically a Sindhi party masquerading as a national party whereas PML(N) is basically a Punjabi one even though its leadership is Kashmiri. The scale of this defeat for PPP is unprecedented. So far, its been virtually wiped out from other provinces. Is the end of the road for Bhutto star power ?

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  • Mirza
    May 13, 2013 - 5:40AM

    Just like the 1971 defeat and surrender of East Pakistan this elections destroys the myth of a Pakistani nation and that Muslims of so many variations are one nation.
    The election results are not unexpected as PPP and PML-N have been taking turns to come into power. Even when they are not in power they make the govt in their own province of birth. The only surprise is the extent of defeat of some big names from PPP especially in Punjab and KPK. However, they still fared better than the oldest party of KPK ANP which is decimated in its place of birth. The fact remains these parties have won and lost elections but remained a force for a long time. In 1997 PPP of BB got only 18 seats in NA and still performed its role only to come back to power. Some parties cannot remain intact when out of power, case in point is APML of Mush and PML-Q. It is to be seen how PTI”s new entrants behave.
    Having accepted the poll results (unlike some) the fact remains that the two rightwing parties of Punjab were endorsed and protected by TTP. While ANP, PPP and MQM were openly targeted and a rein of terror was unleashed. ANP, and PPP did not even have their offices and tents to protect their workers and leaders. They did not openly competed on a level playing field. Yet the rightwing claims the elections were fair and peaceful.
    Let us hope that PTI after taking over eliminates terrorism from KPK and stop drones. They should have full cooperation from the SC, and NS govt as they have made the same promises. Needless to say there should never be blackouts this summer.

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