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October 14, 2018

Biradarism likely to influence PS-87 by-poll


October 14, 2018

Although over 20 candidates are participating in the by-election for the provincial assembly constituency PS-87 (Malir-I) on Sunday (today), the main contest is between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The polling in the constituency comprising various villages of rural Malir was postponed after a contestant, Sharif Ahmed Khan of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), died in a road accident on the National Highway on July 14, less than a fortnight before the general elections.

The constituency comprises dozen of villages of Bin Qasim, Gulshan-e-Hadeed and Steel Town as well as the recently built localities along the National Highway. The total registered voters here are 146,142. Of them, male voters are 83,608 and female voters are 62,534. The constituency has 416 polling booths at 124 polling stations.

Convinced of winning the PS-87 seat with a great margin, the PPP has fielded Sajid Jokhio, the party’s District Malir general secretary and former provincial minister, who won this constituency, known as PS-130 before the current delimitation, thrice in a row.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Awami National Party have announced their support for the PPP candidate. The PTI has fielded Qadir Bakhsh Gabol, a clan leader of the Gabol community.

The TLP is also back in the race for the seat with another candidate, Qurban Ali, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Pak Sarzameen Party have fielded Khalida Ateeb and Muhammad Saleem respectively.

Local analysts believe that the by-election in the constituency is being contested on the basis of biradarism (casteism or tribalism). Sami Memon, a Malir-based journalist, told The News that individualism in the voting behaviour here is comparatively weaker than in the city’s urban areas.

“The PTI’s candidate, Gabol, has successfully managed to muster support from the Gabol, Memon, Palari and Burfat clans, while Qadir Bakhsh Kalmati, clan elder of the Kalmati Baloch, has joined the PPP, strengthening Gabol’s position,” said Memon.

“Jokhios, the largest clan living in rural Malir, whose chieftain Jam Abdul Karim has already become MNA on a PPP ticket from NA-236, have been supporting the PPP’s candidate, who himself is a Jokhio.”

However, added Memon, urban voters in Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Pipri, Shah Town and Steel Town are expected to play a crucial role in the result of the by-poll. Meanwhile, the enthusiasm that was witnessed in the July 25 general elections was clearly lacking in the constituency’s voters this time round.

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