There has never been an upset from District Matiari whenever the Makhdooms of Hala contest the elections. However, this is the unique elections as political observes are not ruling out an upset from here altogether.
The Makhdoom family, which leads the Sarwari Jamaat, has been with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) since the 1970 elections. The late Makhdoom Amin Faheem was elected MNA eight times and the only time he did not participate in the polls was 1985 when the PPP had boycotted them.
This time, Makhdoom Jamil-uz-Zaman, who is the head of the Sarwari Jamaat, is contesting the elections from Matiari. His main opponent is former Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general (DG) Bashir Memon who earned a good name while being in government service. He belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and also enjoys the support of the Grand Democratic Alliance and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl. Before the Musharraf era, Matiari used to be part of the Hyderabad district. The Matiari district was established in 2005 when then Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim carved out various new districts from then Hyderabad district.
The population of Matiari is around 800,000. It consists of three tehsils — Saeedabad, Hala, and Matiari. The district has only one National Assembly Constituency, NA-216, and two provincial constituencies — PS-56 that comprises New Saeedabad and Hala, and PS-57 that comprises Matiari tehsil. The PPP has fielded representatives of the Makhdoom family in all the three seats of Matiari. As Jamil is the PPP candidate for NA-216, his son Makhdoom Mehboob-ul-Zaman is contesting the polls from PS-56 and nephew Makhdoom Fakhr-ul-Zaman from PS-57.
Various local leaders and influential families of Matiari, including Amir Ali Shah Hashmi, Jani Shah, Gada Shah, the late Abdul Razzaq Memon's sons, Nazir Rahu, Mumtaz Rahu, Inam Shah Rashidi, Ali Ahmad Nizamani, Luqman Rajput, Abdul Ghani Memon, and Kaka, Abrija, Chutta, and Detha communities, have announced their support for the PPP.
The PPP’s rival parties have fielded Bashir as their joint candidate in NA-216, his brother Naseer Memon in PS-56 and former MPA Jalal Shah Jamot from PS-57. They are being supported by former Sindh inspector general Mushtaq Shah, Sardar Mehboob Jamali, Syed Bachal Shah, Yasin Shah Rashidi, and Memon, Samaan, Abra, Dahri, Chhachhar, Laghari, Unar and Dal communities.
Salim Sindhi, leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, told The News that he himself was a candidate for PS-57, but on the orders of the central leadership of his party, he withdrew his nomination papers and was now actively participating in the election campaign for the PML-N and GDA candidates.
He said there were more than 20,000 workers and supporters of the JUI-F in Matiari, due to which the party won councillors in the local bodies elections of 2023,
The Memon community also has significant numbers in Matiari. They formed the Memon Ittehad in Matiari in 2012, which later spread throughout Sindh and was named the Sindh Memon Ittehad. According to Awais Gul Memon, a member of the governing body of the Sindh Memon Ittehad, more than 90,000 Memons lived in Matiari and many of them would vote for Bashir. He, however, said that the sons of the late Abdul Razzaq Memon, the founder of the Memon Ittehad, had been campaigning for the Makhdooms.
Sardar Ayaz Memon, a founding member of Sindh Memon Alliance, said the alliance was a non-political platform got divided into two groups after the death of Abdul Razzaq. He explained that the alliance was not supporting any political party, but the community leaders were supporting those they seemed best on an individual basis.
He, however, said the Memon community immensely respected Bashir who personally met their elders and common people.
On the other side, the Makhdooms say that this time too, they would be successful in winning all the three seats of Matiari.
The supporters of the PPP say the party would win comfortably from NA-216 and PS-56. However, its victory margin may be reduced in PS-57 due to Jamot’s support base in Matiari town.
Journalist Ayaz Hasmani said Fakhr could face tough competition from Jamot in PS-57, but as this was Bashir's first contest, the Makhdooms may easily win NA-216 and PS-57 by a reasonable margin due to their rival’s lack of experience of electoral politics.
Journalist Iftikhar Ahmed of Hala said the anti-Makhdoom sentiment had increased in the district and there would be more anti-Mahdoom votes than the anti-PPP votes. He added that the people of Matiari were angry with the Makhdooms because of lack of development, and unsatisfactory education and health facilities. The journalist said people had also not forgotten the Motorway corruption case.
The journalist was of the view that if the PPP had given the ticket to Muhammad Ali Jamot, the party would be sweeping the district once again, but due to party ticket’s rejection, Muhammad Ali was silent and not supporting the Makhdoom family.
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