Published in The Nation newspaper on 26-Apr-2013
The ten-party alliance of opposition, led by PML-F and PML-N, has failed to field unanimous candidates to challenge the PPP and MQM as hopefuls from opposition parties are contesting against each other on many seats in the Sindh province.
This situation shows a clear negation of tall claims made by the chiefs of opposition parties, who assembled under united platform to stop the way of PPP in elections.
The ten-party alliance comprising of PML-F, PML-N, NPP, JUI-F, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sunni Tehreek, JUP-Noorani, Qaumi Awami Tehreek, Sindh Taraqi Passand Party and Sindh United Party. They remained united in their struggle against the adaptation of controversial Sindh Peoples Local Government Law in 2012, which the PPP abolished few days before the end of its tenure. The opposition parties transformed their struggle into an electoral alliance in Sindh which has been divided before elections.
A lengthy exercise of talks and meetings between the chief of the parties including PML-F’s Pir Pagara, PML-N’s Mian Shahbaz Sharif and other components of the alliance remained futile so far in fielding consensus candidates to give tough time to the PPP in rural and MQM in urban constituencies of Sindh.
Many components of the alliance while openly rejecting the decisions of the parliamentary committees at party-head level announced their separate candidates on many constituencies for next elections.
Even, the PML-F and PML-N, pioneer of the electoral alliance, did not stand united as candidates from both the parties are contesting against each other on many seats in Sindh.
The differences among the opposition alliance are widened as parties failed to field consensus candidates on the constituencies in Larkana district to challenge the PPP in its stronghold.
The PML-N leader Imdad Chandio and PML-F leader Mahtab Akbar Rashdi are in race for NA-205 against each other in Larkana as either side is not ready to accommodate each other, claiming that they have more vote bank than opponent. Similarly the situation is satisfactory for the opposition parties in Shikarpur, where NPP, JUI-F and PML-F candidates are in election race against each other.
PML-F’s Ghaus Bux Mahar is also facing JUI-F’s candidate on NA-203 Shikarpur, while NPP’s Ibrahim Jatoi and JUI-F’s Abdullah Pahore are in race for NA-202 Shikarpur.
Despite being part of electoral alliance, the PML-N, JUI-F, NPP and PML-F candidates are fighting each other on many seats of provincial and national assembly in Shikarpur district, which may benefit the PPP in the elections.
Similarly, candidates of National People Party of late Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and PML-N are contesting against each other in Naushehro Feroze district. Former Deputy Speaker of National Assembly Syed Zafar Ali Shah, who recently quit PPP and joined PML-N, is facing NPP’s Aqib Jatoi on NA212 Naushehroferoze, besides the candidates of both opposition parties are in election race on PS-20, PS-21 of same district against each. Even, the opposition parties are divided to challenge the PPP in Benazirababd - home district of President Asif Ali Zardari.
In a move to get more seats, every party in opposition alliance remained stick to its stand and not ready to withdraw its candidate in support of ally party’s candidate. Zain Shah of Sindh United Party and Asghar Rind of PML-N are contesting against each other on PS-27, Benazirabad. Contesting election against each other was a breach of seven-point electoral alliance between the two parties, which was signed by the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and SUP chief Jalal Mehmood Shah last year.
Even, the nationalist parties are not on same page to supporting each other in the elections as nationalist leader and chief of Qaumi Awami Tehreek advocate Ayaz Latif Palijo is facing Latif Junejo of SUP on PS-47 Qasimabad in Hyderabad constituency. The ten-party alliance nominated Palijo as consensus candidate for Qasimabad seat, where he is facing hidden opposition from the nationalist groups and other components of alliance.
Instead of giving challenge to the PPP, the opposition parties and other independent candidates are in election race on many seats, which will ultimately benefit the former ruling party.
PML-F and PML-N candidates are contesting against each other in Tando Allahyar, formerly part of Hyderabad.
Raheela Magsi of PML-N and PML-F candidate Amjad Magsi are in race for NA223 Tando Allahyar, while Dr Irfan Gul Magsi from PML-N and Khair Muhammad Khokhar of PML-F challenging each other on PS-51 Tando Allahyar. Even, the opposition alliance has failed in fielding consensus candidates on important constituencies against MQM in Karachi.
The religio-political parties-JUI-F and Jamaat-e-Islami, which took part in 2002 elections under Muttahida Majalis-e-Amal (MMA), now keeping distanced each other upcoming elections. The candidates of JI and JUI-F fielded candidates on many constituencies including NA239, NA250, NA251, NA252, NA253 and other constituencies of provincial and national assembly seats. The political analysts believed that the differences among the opposition alliance will defiantly benefit the PPP and MQM as votes of opposition likely would be divided if the candidates contesting each other were not withdrawn in accommodating and supporting each other on important seats where former ruling parties had been winning with low margin.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 26-Apr-2013