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.
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.