PPP positive it will dominate LG polls on Saturday

Party loyalists in Kamber-Shahdadkot field candidates against each other


Sarfaraz Memon October 29, 2015
Party loyalists in Kamber-Shahdadkot field candidates against each other. PHOTO: EXPRESS

SUKKUR:


The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is adamant to sweep the local government (LG) elections on Saturday. So much so that it has been accused of influencing officials to cancel the nomination papers of opponents, making rival candidates withdraw in favour of their own and reshuffling polling staff at the eleventh hour.


During a recent visit to Sukkur, party leader Khursheed Shah had hinted that the PPP will win the LG elections with a wide margin. These elections are always won by the ruling parties, he had claimed.

So far, victory seems like a realistic dream for the PPP as several of its candidates have been elected unopposed. Eyeing the slot of district council chairperson in Sukkur, Shah has managed to get his son, Farrukh Shah, elected unopposed as a union council member. Meanwhile, Senator Islamuddin Shaikh's son, Arsalan Shaikh, has also been elected unopposed as a town committee member so that he has a chance to become the mayor of Sukkur.

Similarly, Sindh LG Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah's son, Kumail Haider Shah, has been elected unopposed so he has a chance at becoming the chairperson of Rohri Municipal Committee.

The PPP leaders have also managed to secure seats in other parts of upper Sindh. The Mahar Sardars in Ghotki have managed to get their candidates elected unopposed. They will be facing the Lund group on the remaining seats.

Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar's son, Haji Khan Mahar, has been elected unopposed at his union council and is eyeing the chairperson slot for the district council. Given that Ghotki is largely a tribal area, the main political players are the Sardars and other influentials, among whom the Mahars are the most prominent. The Lunds, Pitafis, Chachars, and others have comparatively little influence.

Lack of options

Safia Baloch, who recently joined the PPP after quitting Pakistan Muslim League - Functional (PML-F), told The Express Tribune that the people of Sindh do not have an alternative for the PPP. And for this, she blames the other political parties in the province.

The PML-Nawaz, PML-F, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam failed to strengthen their parties in Sindh, especially in the rural parts, she said.

Baloch admitted that PPP has undergone massive changes since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto but, she added, the party still holds immense value among the rural population.

Magsi vs Chandio

The PPP's determination to sweep the LG elections is somewhat dampened in Kamber-Shahdadkot where two party leaders are facing each other.

The two PPP MPAs — Nawabzada Sardar Ahmed Chandio, who heads the Chandio tribe, and Nawabzada Mir Nadir Magsi, the chief of the Magsi tribe who won his provincial assembly from this area — have fielded their own candidates against each other in 52 union councils of the district.

Magsi candidates are contesting the elections on the PPP ticket in Shahdadkot, Warah and Kamber tehsils while the Chandios have fielded their own independent panel of candidates. "Around 1,300 candidates are contesting the polls for the post of chairperson, vice-chairperson and general councillor," said Abdul Majeed Talpur, the district election commissioner.

"During the election campaign, a scuffle took place between the people of the two tribes, therefore there are chances of untoward incidents in the area," claimed Mujeed Totani, a local journalist.

Despite efforts made by PPP leaders, both the rivals are unwilling to back down. "I fear bloodshed in the district because the people of both these tribes have fought each other in the past," said Totani. "The memory of the clashes between Chandio and Magsi tribes still haunts us."

Deputy commissioner Captain Anwarul Haq, who is working as the district returning officer, assured that foolproof security measures have been taken, and Rangers and army men will be available at the district headquarters.


Registered votes


A total of 4,618,512 people are registered to vote in eight districts of upper Sindh where the first phase of the LG elections is being held on October 31:

 

DISTRICT                          VOTERS

Khairpur                        930,343

Larkana                         622,586

Ghotki                            614,382

Sukkur                           569,644

Kamber-Shahdadkot    547,857

Shikarpur                      523,827

Jacobabad                     419,634

Kashmore                      390,239

With additional reporting by Hafeez Tunio

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read