The 10-party alliance headed by Pir Pagara Sibgatullah Shah Rashdi voiced its concerns on Tuesday that free and fair elections were doubtful under the current caretaker set-up in Sindh.
“We have completed our electoral process but there are questions over if impartial elections can be held under a politically appointed bureaucracy, from top to bottom, from senior officials to the SHOs,” claimed Imtiaz Sheikh, the PML-F general secretary, while addressing a joint press conference at the Functional House.
“Although the interim government has been constituted, the orders of former PPP governments are still being enforced,” he alleged. “The bureaucracy and the chief minister are under the control of PPP in Sindh.”
The PML-F leader called for an interim set-up like that in Punjab, where, he said, the caretaker chief minister was independent and his orders were implement in letter and spirit.
“The political atmosphere in Punjab is conducive where trust level is high. But in Sindh uncertainty looms large among political parties that have reservations over the caretaker chief minister,” Sheikh claimed.
Informing the media about his meeting with Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, he said the alliance has submitted a list of “political” appointments and numerous postings of relatives of contesting candidates in Sindh.
In a letter submitted to the election commission, the parties alleged that despite apex court orders, the Sindh chief secretary, who enjoys the backing for former government, was still sitting on his post.
The alliance also alleged that besides political postings in police, even the education department had not been spared where the brother-in-law of President Asif Ali Zardari had been posted. Most of the election staff at polling stations would comprise education officials, where impartial elections were not possible, the party leaders claimed.
Sheikh called on the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Chief Election Commissioner and the caretaker prime minister to ensure free and fair elections in Sindh and also remove the “politically appointed” governor immediately.
In the first round of talks among the 10 parties, joint candidates for 23 national and 51 provincial assembly seats have been finalised. “We have agreed to contest election on one-to-one basis,” he said.
The second and final list will be announced on Wednesday. All the candidates will contest on their own symbols.
PML-N leader Ghous Ali Shah said that transition of power was only acceptable if elections were held in an impartial manner.
Jamaat-e-Islami Sindh Ameer Asadullah Bhutto demanded that the election commission should provide a list of contesting candidates, which should also be available on the internet. “The website should be accessible to the public, where people can find where to vote,” he added.
Continuing with the JI’s old demand of removing the Sindh governor, Bhutto claimed the transparent elections could not be held under a governor, who was politically affiliated with the MQM.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl leader Khalid Soomro strongly criticised Faryal Talpur for using the “presidency protocol” in her election campaign. He drew the attention of the chief election commissioner toward the use of state machinery in favour of the PPP contestants. “Four government vehicles are in the use of Syed Qaim Ali Shah,” he alleged.