WEB DESK: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) may take the lead in rural Sindh with neither of the two other national parties – PML-N or Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – having made any effort to break the PPP hold in rural Sindh.
Analysts said that the MQM is the only party that is geared up to take on the PPP but only in two to three major cities; and in Karachi the contest would be between the MQM and the PTI/JI coalition as the PPP has left the field for other parties there.
While the ruling PML-N is likely to clinch majority seats in the Punjab, as the PTI has given tickets to turncoats who joined the party after they were refused tickets by PML-N. Political commentators, however, speculate that the PTI may threaten the ruling PPP in Sindh districts like Badin and Hyderabad though the MQM is likely to emerge as the largest seat winning party in Hyderabad given its strong presence in the city.
Imran Khan has only recently energised his campaign for the local bodies elections phase II that are to be held in Sindh and Punjab on November 19. However, analysts maintain that the PTI has yet to chalk out a strategy to counter its opponents.
In the first phase of the LG polls in Sindh, the PPP won an overwhelming majority of seats, around 70 percent, followed by PML-F. PTI was a distant third. Vice president PTI Sindh chapter Shahnawaz Jadoon said that the PPP has now become limited to Sindh after the general elections, and is losing support in Sindh as ‘tsunami’ of the PTI has entered the province with Imran Khan’s entry.
He said that the election results would be comparatively different from the first phase of the LG polls, as this time PTI chairman himself has started campaigning in different parts of Sindh. “The mammoth rallies of the PTI reflect that things will certainly change this time,” he added.
Another PTI leader from Sukkur division Zakir Rab Nawaz accused the provincial government of using state machinery especially police to intimidate their candidates – a charge levelled by Chairman PTI in Punjab as well. “We don’t accept these elections as they have won the first phase of LG elections through rigging,” Rab Nawaz alleged. He called for the establishment of an independent Election Commission (EC), which would end the misuse of administrative powers to win elections.
An official of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that provincial election commission has completed its preparations for the second phase of LG elections after successfully conducting the first phase.
The second phase of local government elections is scheduled for November 19 in 15 districts of Sindh. The districts awaiting polls include Matiari, Tando Allah Yar, Tando Mohammad Khan, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Benaziriabad, Naushero Feroz, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Tharparkar.
A senior PTI leader who declined to be named said that the party still needs to do a lot of work with respect to awarding party tickets in Punjab. He said that the majority of party ticket holders in the first phase of LG elections had come from the PML-N. “Our genuine workers were not given tickets while the turncoats were obliged, which came as a huge embarrassment for the party in the first phase of LG polls. I am afraid to say this time again we may face the same situation,” he added.
He said that he has pointed out the issue to party chairman Imran Khan, and he has promised to completely restructure the party at grass root level after the elections are over. Another major issue is misuse of local administration by the PML-N which would mean local bodies’ elections phase II would also not be fair or free as long as the PML-N is in power.
However, he expressed hope that the party will give tough time to the PML-N in Southern Punjab as well as in other parts of the province. “Our sole purpose is to put a system in place to deal with administrative rigging once and for all,” he added. The ECP has declared 960 out of a total 11,869 polling stations in Punjab highly sensitive for the upcoming second phase of local government elections. Out of a total of 11,869 polling stations, 3,112 have been declared sensitive in all 12 districts.
In district Jhelum, 648 polling stations have been set up, with 414 declared sensitive and 234 highly sensitive. None of the polling stations in Jhelum fall within the normal category.
In district Sargodha, 1525 polling stations have been set up, with 285 declared sensitive and 50 highly sensitive. 1807 polling stations have been set up in Gujranwala, with 325 declared sensitive and 90 highly sensitive. 183 polling stations have been declared sensitive and 20 highly sensitive out of 1006 total polling stations in Sahiwal. In Attock, 160 polling stations have been declared sensitive and 104 highly sensitive out of a total of 854 stations.
In district Mianwali, 694 polling stations have been set up, with 124 declared sensitive and 13 highly sensitive. In district Chiniot, 571 polling stations have been set up, with 157 declared sensitive and 15 highly sensitive. In Toba Tek Singh, out of 1087 polling stations 269 have been declared sensitive and 50 highly sensitive.
In district Hafizabad, 519 polling stations have been set up, with 319 declared sensitive and 200 highly sensitive. In district Mandi Bahaudding 554 polling stations have been set up, with 219 declared sensitive and 34 highly sensitive. In district Sheikhupura, 1528 polling stations have been set up, with 367 declared sensitive and 95 highly sensitive. The ECP has set up 1076 polling stations in Khanewal out of which 290 have been declared sensitive and 55 highly sensitive.
Source: Business Recorder