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July 10, 2018

Battle lines drawn in Sukkur Division


July 10, 2018

PPP leader Khursheed Shah addressing a corner meeting in NA-206 Sukkur I.

SUKKUR: In Pakistan general elections are just 20 days away, candidates and party leaders are campaigning with fresh pledges and promises to secure support to ensure victory on 25th July. As like whole country many candidates are trying their luck on 7 national assembly and 15 provincial assembly seats in districts Ghotki, Sukkur and Khairpur of Sukkur division with heavy weights like Ali Gohar Mahar, Khursheed Shah, Qaim Ali Shah, Ghaus Ali Shah, Nafisa Shah and Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi are in race.

Ghotki Distt

Rich with gas reservoirs, Ghotki is the last district of Sindh, bordering Punjab province as well India. Ghotki has two national assembly seats and 4 provincial assembly seats for 19 and 47 candidates respectively are contesting.

NA 204 Ghotki-I: Khalid Lund and Pir Abdul Haq alias Mian Mithoo are the main contenders among 10 other candidates in the race for NA 204 Ghotki-I. Khalid Lund won this seat in 2002 on the PPP ticket and enjoyed ministerial stints during Zafarullah Jamali and Shukat Aziz governments during the Musharraf period. He was defeated by Mian Mithoo in 2008 on PPPP ticket and Ali Gohar Mahar in 2013. Mian Mithoo was not awarded ticket by PPP in 2013 over Rinkle Kumari issue.

This time around, a tough contest is expected in this constituecy between Lund and Mian Mithoo who has the support of all the anti PPP forces in district and province i.e GDA, PTI, Ali Gohar Mahar and Nadir Leghari.

NA 205 Ghotki-II: This is another national assembly constituency of the district. The PPP has fielded a relatively new face Ahsan Sundrani against the ex-CM Sindh Ali Mohammad Khan Mahar, who is running as independent candidate after returning the PPP ticket at the eleventh hour. This is home constituency of the powerful Mahar family of the district so he can easily win the seat unless a vigorous campaign is launched by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari which can cause turning of the tide.

PS 18 Ghotki-I: As many as nine candidates are in contest for this seat. Former Sindh minister Jam Mahtab Dahar of PPP and Shahryar Shar of PTI are the main contestants. PMLN’s Asif Shah and MMA’s Ajmal Solangi are also in the race but the votes cast for them will favor the PPP’s candidate. In 2013 Mahtab Dahar beat Sharyar Shar by margin of 7,000 votes. Odds are in favor of Dahar.

PS 19 Ghotki-II: This is yet another hotly contested seat which however is not too keenly watched. This constituency caused differences between the PPP leadership and Ali Gohar Mahar ex Nazim of the district and an elder of the Mahar clan. He is in race against the PPP’s Abdul Bari Pitafi who is the son of ex MPA late Ahmed Ali Pitafi. Interestingly, Pitafi’s brothers are supporting Mahar who may emerge victorious on 25th July.

PS 20 Ghotki-III: Two brothers Ali Gohar Mahar of the GDA and Ali Nawaz Mahar of the PPP are contesting on their home Khangarh seat. The seat will remain in the family irrespective of who wins.

PS 21 Ghotki IV: There are as many as 16 aspirants for this constituency. The PPP’s Ali Nawaz Mahar and ex minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo, who switched loyalties to MMA after failure to secure ticket from PPP, are the main contestants. Dharejo’s brother Ikramullah, ex Sindh minister is contesting on the PPP ticket from Pano Aqil district. Khairpur. Though this is home constituency of Dharejo, but Ali Nawaz Mahar is likely to return as the winner.

Sukkur Distt.

NA 206 Sukkur I: The former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly from 2013 to 2018 Syed Khursheed Shah and a veteran of 7 elections, is facing 17 candidates in this constituency.

PTI’s Tahir Shah is his main opponent supported by GDA’s Ali Gohar Mahar and Mohammad Ali Shaikh. In 2013 elections PMLF’s Inayat Ali Buriro unexpectedly secured more than 50,000 votes against Khurshid Shah’s more than 80,000 votes. Looks like a piece of cake for Khurshid Shah this time again.

NA 207 Sukkur II: About 17 candidates are contesting for this seat comprising Sukkur city. The PPP’s former MNA Noman Islam Shaikh is in race against candidates including PTI’s Mobeen Jatoi , MQM-P’s Ghulam Murtaza, PSP’s Sohail Niaz Khoso, PML-N’s M. Tahir and MMA’s M. Ayub. However, the actual contest is between PPP’s Noman Islam Shaikh and PTI’s Mobeen Jatoi courtesy the presence of many candidates by splitting up the anti PPP votes.

PS 22 Sukkur-I: The former Sindh Minister Jam Ikramullah Dharejo of PPP is contesting from this constituency against GDA’s Ali Gohar Mahar, PMLN’s Imdad Ali and 15 other candidates. Dharejo is incumbent while Mahar has fielded himself to the exhibit the power of his Biradari vote. But despite that a tough contest is expected and the swing votes may decide the fate of the candidates.

PS 23 Sukkur II: The PPP’s Awais Qadir Shah and GDA’s Mohammad Ali Shaikh are among other contestants of this constituency which consist of Rohri and Saleh Pat talukas of the district.

Mohammad Ali Shaikh is the scion of Taj Shaikh family famous for the Taj group of petroleums, who recently parted ways with the PPP over award of ticket. It would be interesting to watch the contest between the two as some people are predicting victory for Mohammad Ali Shaikh, while others favor Awais Shah.

PS 24 Sukkur III: The PPP’s Farrukh Shah, PMLN’s Zahid Shoro, GDA’s Shafqat Shah, MQM-P’s Shafiq Kamboh, PTI’s Safia, MMA’s Zubair Hafeez and PSP’s Waqas Khan are among the 29 contestants from this constituency which consists of Sukkur city. In 2013, this seat was won by MQM due to the internal differences between the PPP heavy weights. This time MQM is in deep trouble and both the PPP heavyweights of the district have reached on an agreement so it is expected that PPP’s Farrukh Shah will sail easily.

Ps 25 Sukkur IV: Here again 28 candidates are testing their luck on this Sindh PA seat including the soft spoken ex Sindh Minister Nasir Shah of PPP and the Independent candidate Mobeen Jatoi, who is contesting on PTI ticket on NA 207. Nasir Shah has fair chance of victory from this seat.

Khairpur Distt:

NA 208 Khairpur-I: Ex CM Sindh Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, Nafisa Shah and Mir Mohammad Hanjrah are among the 10 candidates for this seat on PPP, GDA and MMA tickets respectively.

The actual contest is between Ghaus Ali Shah and Nafisa Shah. In 2013 Ghaus Ali Shah was defeated by PPP’s Nawab Wassan. Though Ghaus Ali has pinned hopes with votes of the Shaikh community after Ghaffar Shaikh, once a close aid of Qaim Ali Shah, decided to contest on the GDA ticket, but Nafisa Shah is in clear lead.

NA 209 Khairpur-II: This constituency comprises Nara, Thari Mir Wah and Faiz Ganj Talukas. Since 2002 Sadaruddin Shah has been returning on this constituency. In 2002, he was challenged by PPP’s Javed Shah, in 2008 and 2013 by Sajid Banbhan. This time he is challenged by PPP’s Syed Fazal Shah Jillani, whose father used to win from this seat till 1997. Though odds are in Pir Sadaruddin Shah’s favor but a tough contest is expected between him and Pir Fazal Shah Jillani.

NA 210 Khairpur-III: This constituency consist of Sobho Dero, Gambat and Kingri Talukas of district. Khairpur. The PPP’s Javed Shah Jillani is in contest against GDA’s Kazim Shah and MMA’s M. Ramzan among others. In 2002 and 2008 PPP’s Pir Fazal Shah returned, while in 2013 PMLF’s Kazim Shah won while beating PPP’s Javed Shah Jillani. Though a close contest is expected among Kazim Shah and Javed Shah, the incumbency factor may cost Kazim Shah.

PS 26 Khairpur-I: Ex-CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah is in the race for this constituency on a PPP ticket against former aid GDA’s Abdul Ghaffar Shaikh and 16 other candidates. Qaim Ali has never lost on this seat except in 1997 to Ghaus Ali Shah who had contested on the PML-N ticket. Few people think GDA’s Abdul Ghaffar Shaikh may give a surprise, but Qaim Ali Shah looks clearly leading.

PS 27 Khairpur-II: As many as 9 candidates are contesting on this seat but the actual competition is between the PPP’s Munawar Wassan, who is the covering candidate of his uncle Manzoor Wassan and was awarded PPP ticket after his disqualification, and Mir Shah Nawaz Talpur of GDA. Since 1988, the Wassan family has won this seat. Though with Manzoor Wassan’s disqualification there is disappointment in their camp, but they will put all their efforts to win this seat.

PS 28 Khairpur-III: The PPP’s Sajid Banbhan and GDA’s Mashooq Shah are among 18 candidates testing their luck on this constituency manily comprising Thari Mir Wah Taluka. In 2013 PPP’s Pir Fazal Ali Shah returned on this seat, who is also contesting on the national assembly seat. A neck to neck fight is expected here with little advantage to Sajjid Banbhan.

PS 29 Khairpur-IV: The PPP’s Sheraz Shoukat Rajper and GDA’s Dr. Rafiq Banbhan are the main contestants for this seat comprising Faizganj Taluka. Dr. Rafiq Banbhan also returned victorious in 2013. Though a good competition is expected but odds favor Dr Rafiq on this seat.

PS 30 Khairpur-V: This extra seat was created in district Khairpur after the interim delimitation was carried in wake of the census results. The PPP awarded ticket to Pir Fazal Ali Shah while the GDA to relatively unknown Ghulam Rasool Sahto mainly due a solid vote of his community. Pir Niaz Hussain Shah of Ranipur is also in the run. A good fight is expected, while Pir Fazal Shah being experienced in electoral politics may take the advantage.

PS 31 Khairpur-VI: The PPP’s Naeem Kharal and GDA’s Ismail Shah are competing on the seat with other candidates. Naeem Kharal has the advantage of being a local of the area and previously returned successful in 2002, 2008 and 2013.

PS 32 Khairpur-VII: This seat consists on Taluka Kingri and is the seat of the famous Pagara family and has been retained by them since 1990. This time round, Rashid Shah, the elder son of Pir Pagara, is contesting on the GDA’s ticket against PPP’s ex MNA Nawab Wassan. Though it is Rashid Shah’s home constituency but could swing to the side of the PPP.

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