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PPPP facing tough times in Sindh

Believe it or not, Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) is in "dire straits" in the province of Sindh, the home province of Bhuttos on whose charisma the left over party, a lame duck entity after the elimination of the family, still survives.

Will the party come out with the same might and strength in May 11 elections is any body's guess. Ground realities, however, point to not a very rosy situation. According to the reports the party is faced with different odds and will have to go an extra mile to make its presence felt in the province.

According to all indications available here it would be facing a "tough competition" in various districts of the province, but the local political observers are of the view that in some parts it still rules the roost. Of these districts, Sukkur, Ghokti, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Jacobabad, Jamshoro, Matiari and Tando Adam are considered walkover districts for PPPP, as the party has been winning majority of seats from here, which fete they might repeat again.

Besides that, one of the major factors is considered to be that the opposition political parties' choice of candidates to face PPP electables has been poor. They look weak and may not be able to match the election winning tactics of PPP candidates. Let us begin with district Sukkur: All calculations indicate that all the six candidates, two for national assembly and four of provincial assembly, other things remaining the same, may sail through conveniently in retaining their seats.

So far so good, but an important factor which could upset election results would be if people decide to vote on the basis of last five years performance of those for whom they had voted to work for their welfare. According to the reports, out of 17 projects launched in Sukkur district during the tenure of PPPP-led government, only one has been completed while the rest are either to take off or at initial stages.

If they could cash on the dismal performance of elected representatives of PPPP, than surely the ten-party-alliance headed by PML-F has a chance to make a dent in PPPP's vote bank. To achieve that opposition parties, particularly Functional League will have to put their best foots forward to down their rivals. Sukkur is third largest district of Sindh, situated on bank of Indus River, it has two national assembly seats including NA-199 and NA-198 and four provincial assembly seats including PS-1, PS-2, PS-3 and PS-4. In 2002 election, PPPP had swept all the seats with majority of votes.

NA-199 (Sukkur-PanoAqil): is a constituency of PPPP's Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah, former federal minister for religious affairs. He had been elected MNA from this seat in 2002. Shah contesting election on same seat while Faqeer Inayatullah Buriro is considered is his major rival. Buriro, affiliated with PML-F, is a joint candidate of ten-party-alliance. Though, Inayatullah Buriro has "good say in his area, according to local political observers Shah is "hot candidate" and Buriro can't give him tough-time.

It may be noted here that PML-F has not a history of winning seat from Sukkur district. NA-198 (Sukkur city): PPPP's Noaman Islamuddin Shaikh who won the elections of 2002 from this constituency, is again candidate and Agha Ayoub Shah is considered as his main rival. Shah, affiliated with JUI-F, is joint candidate of ten-party-alliance. It may be noted here that JUI-F has some vote-pockets in Sukkur district but it could not win a single seat from this district in any elections.

PS-1 (Sukkur-1): PPPP's Haji Anwer Khan Mehar, who remained MPA from PS-2, has been emerged as candidate of party from this constituency where from Dr Nasurullah Baloch (first cousin of Khurshid Ahmed Shah) was MPA in last tenure of Sindh Assembly. Musharraf Mehmood Qadri, affiliated with JUP, is the joint candidate of ten-party-alliance and MQM's Saleem Bandhani are two major rivals of Mehar as Saleem Bandhani remained MPA in 1988 on the ticket of Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

It may be noted here that a she-male candidate namely Sanam Faqeer is also contesting election from this seat. According to her, she would defeat heavyweights of PPPP and other parties. PS-2 (Sukkur-cum-Shikarpur): Syed Nasir Hussein Shah, former district nazim of Sukkur, is contesting from this seat as a candidate of PPPP whose major rival would be Suhail Abid Jatoi, National Peoples Party's (NPP) candidate, as ten-party-alliance could not take a decision about "joint candidate" on this seat of provincial assembly yet.

PML-F's Ghulam Qadir Ghumro, MQM's Dr Wasim Soomro and Mumtaz (Sahil) Jogi, of "Geo Jogi Ittehad" are three major contesters of Shah. The local political observers said that Muttahida's candidate can create competition with Nasir Shah as MQM has considerable vote-bank in said constituency.

It may be noted here that Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah had protested over the allotment of party ticket to Nasir Shah as he had been remained strong rival of Khurshid Shah throughout the tenure of General Pervez Mushrraf (Retd). Nasir Shah was became district nazim for the first time on PPP's ticket but later he changed loyalties and joined PML-Q with Mehars of Ghotki in 2003. Until recently he had remained a supporter of Mehars.

When Mehars joined PPP about few months back, it was major point of agreement that PPP would allot ticket to Nasir Shah from Sukkur in next general election. PS-3 (Old Sukkur): Former Sindh Minister for Irrigation Jam Saifullah Dharejo was elected MPA from this seat in 2002 elections, now on his request, PPPP leadership allocated ticket to Jam Ikramullah Dharejo, younger brother of Jam Saif. Ten-party-alliance's Sardar Ali Gohar Khan Indhar is considerable as his major rival who is basically affiliated with JUI-F. While a University student Sabba Bhatti, PPPP's Jiyala Wazeer Pitafi are also contesters from this constituency.

According to local political observers, PPPP candidate has bright chance to win the seat as none of the opponents has considerable vote-bank in the constituency. PS-4 (Old Sukkur-IV): PPPP's Awaish Shah is a new entrance in politics of Sukkur district who is a nephew and son-in-law of Syed Ahmed Khurhsid Shah, his father Syed Abdul Qadir Shah is a retired Chief Engineer of (Roads) Works and Services department.

Awais Shah, known as "political Jannasheen" of Khurshid Shah, is a well-known government contractor. He used to get big government contracts of roads, bridges, buildings, toll tax, mines and minerals and other sectors. Ten-party-alliance's Nawabzada Syed Zahid Hussein Shah is a major competitor of Awais Shah. Despite the fact that he is big land-lord of the area but he is well-known social worker of the area as well. Zahid Shah basically affiliated with PML-F, is contesting election on this seeat second time. In 2002, he was defeated by PPPP's Syed Javaid Shah.

The local political observers are of the view that tough competition is expected on this seat as PPPP's workers living in the said constituency are against the decision of awarding the ticket to Awais Shah. Note: A large numbers of independent candidates are contesting elections on all seats of Sukkur district but no one is considered as competitor on any of the seats that's why we did not mention their names in this write-up.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013


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