The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has already expelled a number of its leaders for violating party discipline by contesting the July 25 general elections as independents against PPP candidates.
And now the PPP is mulling over removing the heads of two district municipalities over their alleged role in the party’s electoral defeat in its strongholds of Lyari and Malir.
While the PPP suffered badly in the rest of the city, especially in the Mohajir-dominated neighbourhoods, the party could not perform well even in the South and Malir districts, where it traditionally draws support from the Baloch and Sindhi communities.
Now that the PPP has formed its government in Sindh and taken care of other political matters at the Centre, the party has decided to punish the leaders who it deems responsible for the humiliating defeat in its strongholds.
The PPP’s South and Malir leaders have complained to the party’s central leadership that South District Municipal Corporation (DMC) Chairman Malik Fayyaz Awan and Malir DMC Chairman Jan Muhammad Baloch worked against the party’s interests and supported the dissenting leaders in the polls.
District South, especially Lyari, is a traditional PPP stronghold, but in the general elections the party performed poorly and could not win a single seat from the district.
The most humiliating part for the PPP was the defeat of its chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in NA-246 (South-I), a traditional National Assembly constituency in Lyari that the party has won in every general election since its inception.
The party chief could only manage to get the third position in the electoral race by securing 39,325 votes, while former PPP youth leader Abdul Shakoor Shad, now a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, won the seat with 52,750 votes.
The News talked to PPP leaders in Lyari and they said there was an internal crisis within the party over the allotment of tickets for Lyari’s provincial assembly seats PS-107 and PS-108.
Angered over their favourites not being awarded tickets, a number of local PPP leaders formed the Lyari Panel and pitted ex-MNA Shah Jahan Baloch and union council vice-chairman Habib Hasan as independents against the party’s Abdul Majeed and Javed Nagori.
PPP activists familiar with the situation told The News that a large number of elected UC representatives of District South, including DMC chief Awan, supported the Lyari Panel independents instead of the PPP’s candidates. Shah Jahan Baloch and Hasan have already been expelled for violating party discipline.
Although the PPP won two NA and three PS seats in District Malir, the party’s local stalwart Abdul Hakeem Baloch could not win NA-237, as he lost the seat to the PTI’s Capt (retd) Jamil Ahmed Khan.
PPP leaders said Malir DMC chief Jan Muhammad Baloch tried hard to get his nephew the ticket for PS-89, but the party’s district leadership awarded it to Saleem Kalmati, a new entrant in the PPP and a close aide of Hakeem Baloch. “It was the reason that Jan Baloch covertly campaigned against the PPP candidates that helped the PTI win NA-237,” a party’s parliamentarian from Malir told The News.
In a recent meeting with the PPP chairman, Hakeem Baloch complained about Jan Baloch. Similarly, a delegation of the party’s parliamentarians from Malir met Sindh’s chief minister and criticised Jan Baloch for his allegedly negative role in the polls and bad performance in the municipality.
The party delegation that met chief executive Syed Murad Ali Shah at the CM House included Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, Agha Rafiullah, Kalmati and Mehmood Alam Jamot.
“The party has been seriously thinking about removing Jan Baloch from his position, not through a no-confidence vote, but by using some articles of the local government laws. Current vice-chairman Abdul Khaliq Marwat would then be elevated to chairman,” said the parliamentarian.