Re-polling: In Tharparkar, all eyes on PPP-Qureshi contest

Published: May 28, 2013
PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi. PHOTO: PTI/FILE

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi. PHOTO: PTI/FILE


With the general elections wrapped up, re-polling in Tharparkar is now in the limelight. 

Scheduled for June 1, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ordered re-elections at 47 polling stations of the district, after reports of massive rigging and snatching of ballot boxes erupted.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi has challenged the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the polls.

Qureshi, who is the spiritual leader of the Ghousia Jamaat, has considerable number of followers in the area. He may also win the re-polls, since Arbab Ghulam Rahim has withdrawn his candidate in Qureshi’s favour and sources say Pir Pagara’s Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) is also supporting him.

“Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Pir Pagara held a meeting a few days ago,” said a source privy to the development. “It has been decided that PTI members in Sindh Assembly would support PML-F in the opposition benches.  This has become possible because of Hur Jamaat’s unconditional support to Qureshi.”

The last two elections have shown that candidates from the Arbab clan have emerged victorious from the area. Time and again, Arbab Ghulam Rahim has nominated Ghulam Hyder Sameejo for NA-230. However, in the 2013 elections, since Qureshi was also in the running, Arbab consulted Pir Pagara and decided to withdraw his candidate, fielding Sameejo for PS-63.

Unofficial results of NA-230 reveal that Qureshi took the lead with 45,612 votes against PPP’s Noor Muhammad Shah Jilani who got 44,001 votes.

Alleged rigging

ECP sources say that out of 213 polling stations, results of 43 were suspended due to rigging in the area.

“We would have won the seats if Arbab Ghulam Rahim’s people had not snatched ballot boxes and burnt ballot papers in PPP dominated areas,” Jilani told The Express Tribune.

He alleged that gunmen of Arbab Ghulam Rahim group had not only hijacked the polls, but threatened people to not cast votes in PPP’s favour.

“Police arrested the former Taulaka nazim, Dilawar Maalkani – who belongs to the Arbab clan – and recovered snatched ballot papers from him,” he said. According to ECP officials, more than 40 FIRs have been lodged in Nangar Parkar and Chhacharo areas on the complaint of the district returning officer.

“Gunmen belonging to different groups and parties attacked the polling staff and snatched the ballot papers. We cannot blame one specific party, but activists belonging to different parties created mess in the areas given the lack of proper security arrangements,” said Provincial Election Commissioner SM Tariq Qadri.

On the other hand, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who has recently joined PML-N refuted the allegations against him and said the area belonged to his voters and PPP has nothing to do in the constituency.

“State machinery is being used against us in Thar. How is it possible for us to hijack votes in the presence of PPP government disguised as the caretaker setup,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2013. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated Shah Mehmood Qureshi was contesting as an independent candidate in the district. The error is regretted. 

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Ahsan
    May 28, 2013 - 9:46AM

    he is contesting from a PTI ticket,, not independant, gosh, how much time does it take electronic media to know something..


  • Ex-believer
    May 28, 2013 - 9:52AM

    I have lost my interest in PML -N, MQM, ANP , PTI, PPP
    Thank you ECP


  • khan
    May 28, 2013 - 9:57AM

    Shah Mehmood Qureshi is contesting on PTI ticket..Et check your facts least news should be without any getting prejudice


  • babar
    May 28, 2013 - 10:05AM

    For the record SMQ is an PTI candidate not an independent


  • Rashid
    May 28, 2013 - 10:52AM

    He is not contesting as an independent candidate.


    May 28, 2013 - 11:23AM

    ET, elections are over now, stop being ant PTI.

    Qureshi is contesting on a PTI ticket, not independentstrong text


  • karachiwala
    May 28, 2013 - 12:54PM

    “It has been decided that PTI members in Sindh Assembly would support PML-F in the opposition benches. This has become possible because of Hur Jamaat’s unconditional support to Qureshi.”
    Qureshi is contesting as an Independent
    And in return for their support to him, he has committed the Party’s support to PML-F
    Good….I like this Naya Pakistan


  • Junaid
    May 28, 2013 - 1:54PM

    @Ahsan: Shah Mehmood Qureshi is contesting from Thar as an independent candidate, not on PTI ticket. He contested in Multan from PTI ticket.


  • Asjad
    May 28, 2013 - 1:56PM

    Will this happen with Military presense inside and outside the polling station like Karachi?


  • Uza Syed
    May 28, 2013 - 3:09PM

    What an irony, what a paradox Shah Mehmood Qureshi who is also the spiritual leader of the Ghousia Jamaat and Pir Pagara, another of the same kind, meet and decide who wins elections in Tharparkar to represent the povery stricken people, mostly poorest of the poor in the land. Incidently both of these thugs are very rich feudal lords as well, who are part of the problems of the poor and cause of their povery. One wonders how long it would take for the masses to wake up and identify their exploiters and usurpers of their rights.


  • manzoor
    May 28, 2013 - 4:41PM

    He is contesting independent as he fears if he contests under PTI flag then his mureeds won’t vote him coz they are die hard voters of PPP. He is telling them lies that he is contesting as an independent due to some technicalities…also his murreds think that saeen after winning will join PPP back..


  • Naeem
    May 28, 2013 - 4:43PM

    ET keeps winding up PTI supporters with wrong reporting..Not fair ET guys…


  • Mirza
    May 28, 2013 - 6:35PM

    SMQ is an PTI candidate, an independent, a feudal pir, candidate of Pir Pagara, candidate of Arbab and others all at the same time. Yet he is not winning by much. Zero plus zero plus zero still comes out zero.


  • sajid
    May 31, 2013 - 7:02PM

    First time in form submittion Shah mahmood declare as a independt,after reports media shah mahmood show PTI,journlsist question from shah sahib why you participate as a independnt they say this is my personal decision ,but then change decision so this report is correct


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