KARACHI: Amidst incidents of violence, clashes and at least two deaths, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won with a big margin the first phase of the local governments (LG) elections in 14 districts of Sindh province, according to the unofficial results received till filing of the report late Sunday night.
The Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) stood second, Independents third, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) fourth, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazlur (JUIF) secured the fifth position, according to the number of their candidates winning the elections.
The Citizens Alliance, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Sindh United Party (SUP) and others were also in the field.
In Larkana, Munir Ahmed Soomro, elder brother of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's political secretary Jamil Ahmed Soomro and Vice-Chairman Abdul Haq Khaawar also won the LG elections of 13 polling stations of Union Committee-II Haideri Town, Larkana.
GDA won three seats in Town Committee Dokri elections while PPP succeeded to get one seat. As per the results of Ward 5, GDA's Haji Abdul Hameed Jaisar, in Ward 1, GDA's Saifullah Soomro, and in Ward 3, GDA's Mihrab Khashkheli succeeded.
In Ward 4, PPP's Fida Hussain Gadhi won the election, while in Ward 2 polls were postponed. In Khairpur, PPP won LG elections in 26 wards, out of 29 of Khairpur city while two candidates of the GDA and an independent candidate also succeeded to reach the victory stand. PPP leader Nafeesa Shah congratulated the party winners.
In Shikarpur, as per the UC 12 results, the PPP candidate for chairman Mian Abdul Manan won the seat by getting 3,399 votes. Independent candidate Tufail bagged only 1,330 votes. As per the Municipal Committee Ward 22 results, PPP’s Mumtaz Bhutto won by 897 votes against JUI’s Liaquat Saddiqui and independent candidate Fahim Memon.
In Qambar, as per the results of Town Committee Miru Khan Ward 4, PPP’s Hizbullah Gopang won with 674 votes against the JUIF candidate who got 610 votes. In Ward 2, PPP’s Liaquat Ali Abro won the seat with 835 votes against GDA’s Syed Riffat Ali Shah, who obtained 681 votes.
In Ward 3, PPP’s Shahabuddin Bhatti reached victory stand by winning 556 votes against GDA’s Bashir Taniyo, who received 419 votes.
In Ward 4, PPP’s Siraj Taniyo won by 600 votes against GDA’s Rab Nawaz, who got 486 votes.
In Punnu Aqil, as per the Municipal Committee Ward 1 result, PPP’s Saleem Kalor won the election by obtaining 435 votes against JUIF’s Abdul Jalil.
As per Ward 10 result, PPP’s Jamal Bhutto won by 309 votes against PTI’s Abdul Hameed, who got 173 votes.
As per Ward 16 result, PTI’s Shaukat Chachar Advocate won by 623 votes against PPP’s Aman Chachar who bagged 567 votes.
In Nawab Shah, as per the result of Union Council Chanaser, PPP candidate Anwar Chandio won by 971 votes against Sindh United Party’s female candidate Noor Fatima.
As per the result of UC 6 Ward 12, PPP’s Asif Zia won by 331 votes against MQM’s Muhammad Arif, who received only 159 votes.
As per town committee Ward 1 results, PPP’s Engineer Ghaffar Jatoi won by 535 votes against GDA’s Imran Mallah who got only 224 votes.
As per the result of Sakrand Ward 5, PPP’s candidate won elections by 754 votes against the PTI candidate who takes only 224 votes.
In Deharki, as per Town Committee Ward 12 results, independent candidate Jam Abdul Fateh Samijo won 1179 votes against the PPP candidate Mian Manzoor 365 votes.
In Ghotki, as per Ward 6 results, PPP’s Shehbaz Khan won with 552 votes against the GDA candidate Nazar Khan Buzdar.
In Kandhkot, as per Ward 6 result, PPP’s Aftab Jhakrani won by receiving 937 votes against JUIF’s runner-up candidate Shabbir Koso.
As per Ward 10 results, PPP’s Ehsan Ahmad Malik won by 806 votes against JUIF’s Shaukat Malik who received 486 votes only.
In Sanghar, as per the unofficial results of Ward Number 6 in Sanghar, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) candidate Murad Ali Nizamani obtained 577 votes against Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Shafiq Arain.
In Mehrabpur, as per the Ward 3 result, Shehri Ittihad (Citizens Alliance) candidate Abid Arain won with 491 votes against the PPP’s candidate.
In Thal, as per Ward 10 result, PPP’s Zuhaib Sarki won by 1567 votes against JUIF’s candidate Hamid Golo.
In Sukkur, as per the results, out of 32 Union Committees of 3 Town Committees of Sukkur, 29 were won by PPP candidates and 3 by PTI candidates.
Earlier in the day, two people including the brother of a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate were killed and at least 20 people were injured in the clashes that broke outside various polling stations, local media reported.
Tando Adam PTI Divisional President Mushtaq Junejo claimed, "I can confirm the death of Qaiser, brother of our party's candidate Asghar Gandapur in Tando Adam. Qaiser was subjected to violence which caused his death."
Qaiser's brother Zafar was contesting on ward-13 of the municipal committee, Tando Adam, who was also injured in the clash. The supporters blocked the Tando Adam road as the killing sparked a protest in the district.
Director General Health Dr Juman Bahoto confirmed that the body was received in Tando Adam Taluka Hospital. He said, "The cause of death can be ascertained only after a post-mortem is conducted."
Reports said that a clash took place between voters of PPP and PTI at polling station Allah Jurio Jaghirani of Union Council Panhwari at Rohri in district Sukkur. In the clash, Abdul Qadeer Jaghirani was killed while Abdul Samad and Abdul Majid were injured.
The polling began at 8am and continued until 5pm without any pause. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced extending the voting time in areas where the polling was stopped due to some reasons.
The 14 districts of Sindh include Larkana, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Naushehro Feroze, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, and Tharparkar.
At least 21,298 candidates were in the field against 6,277 seats of 101 town committees, 23 municipal committees, 14 district councils, four municipal corporations, eleven town municipal corporations and 887 union councils and union committees.
Earlier in the day, the LG elections were postponed in a few wards due to misprinting (typographical errors) of the names of candidates in the ballot papers, confirmed a spokesperson of the ECP. He said the ECP would issue a new schedule for elections on the seats and added that the commission had launched an inquiry in that regard.
Meanwhile, several candidates in Nawabshah staged protests over misprinting of election symbols on the ballot papers.
A Tehreek-e-Insaf Pakistan (TLP) candidate said he was allotted the symbol of a ‘crane’, but it was printed as a ‘queen’ in the ballot papers. However, the presiding officer stopped the voting process on the seat.
Some incidents of violence, clashes, and attacks on polling officials were also reported in different areas of the province.
The situation became tense when a group of armed people attacked the social security polling station in Nawabshah and held the polling staff hostage, according to the presiding officer. Later, they fled the polling station along with the election material, he added.
Regional Election Commissioner Naveed Aziz informed in writing to the SSP concerned about the incident. SSP Saud Magsi said that the police had registered a case against 15 people for their alleged involvement in the incident.
In another episode of violence, seven polling staffers were abducted in the Kandhkot area of Kashmore.
Rangers and police first decided to launch an operation for safe recovery of the abducted polling staff. But, later, sources said, SSP Kashmore-Kandhkot, after engaging the tribal chief, ensured safe release of the polling staff and the election material.
In Naushero Feroze, the voting process was stopped temporarily when clashes erupted between two rival groups. At least four people were injured.
A clash also took place between two political parties in UC Trihmar in Tharpark District, according to the police. It added that both the groups had baton-charged each other. While two candidates also fought each other in tehsil Kloi, leading to a few people being injured.
In Kandhkot, opponents attacked the vehicle of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) leader and candidate for the municipal committee, Shaukat Malik, with batons, and broke the windscreen.
The ECP directed the deputy commissioners and district returning officers (DROs) to take action over snatching of election material at three polling stations in Shaheed Benazirabad district.
A spokesperson for JUIF slammed the ECP over its failure to fulfil its duties, adding that their party workers were targeted and the police play the role of silent spectators.
At least 13 people involved in riots were arrested in Pano Aqil, said a spokesperson for the ECP. He said an attempt to stop the election was foiled in a timely manner.
Separately, expressing concerns over the incidents of violence in the province, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQMP) senior leader and former Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar demanded the ECP stop the ongoing election process immediately, citing: “Dacoits took away ballot boxes [from the polling stations] in Sindh.”
Referring to the misprinting in the ballot papers, the MQMP leader raised questions about the performance of the ECP.
Pointing out the low turnout, Akhtar said that voters were frightened due to the firing, adding that fair elections could not be possible in that situation.
“Local government elections in Nawabshah and Mirpur Khas should be stopped as rigging is in full swing in these areas,” he claimed. In addition to this, he asked the ECP to remove flaws in voter lists and revise the delimitation. “The elections are a question mark on the PPP government in Sindh,” he added.
Also, refusing to accept results of the Sindh LG polls first phase, the PTI Sindh leaders accused ruling PPP of rigging the elections and using violence against candidates and supporters of rival political parties.
Addressing an emergency press conference in Karachi, former federal minister and PTI Sindh chief Ali Zaidi held the Sindh government, the Election Commission, and the law-enforcement agencies responsible for incidents of violence all the day in 14 districts.
He warned that the Sindh government and the ECP would be responsible if the situation worsened in the province. Fearing bloodshed amid the democratic process, he said that the PPP used government machinery during its election campaigning, adding that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah "violated the ECP laws by staging a public meeting in Larkana".
“Have the ECP served notices on Bilawal Bhutto and Murad Ali Shah?” asked the PTI leader. Former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, former special assistant Mahmood Maulvi, PTI Sindh Spokesperson Arsalan Taj, PTI economic affairs spokesperson Muzammil Aslam and other leaders accompanied Ali Zaidi.
“Former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim's son was tortured. Weapons continued to be used openly throughout the election process,” he said. “If this is an election, then what is a war?,” he asked.
He said the PTI candidates were shown as independent candidates on the ballot papers and the election symbol was changed. “No party is ready to accept the results of the election,” he added.
He demanded annulment of the election because the chief justice of the Supreme Court had remarked that the transfer of powers to the lower level under Article 140A should be ensured first. “We are going to approach the Supreme Court,” he said.
Zaidi siad the PTI was fielding candidates in the second phase of local government elections. “The Election Commission has shown its incompetence to hold transparent elections”.
Separately, the Political Secretary Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) Sindh Syed Ali Hussain Naqvi also rejected the first phase of LG Election 2022 because of mismanagement and anomalies in ballot papers. He said that conducting elections without proper preparations is questionable. ECP election material anomalies hint at favouritism in the LG polls.
Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety and Information Secretary of PPPP Shazia Atta Marri, meanwhile, felicitated the people and workers of the party over overwhelming success in the first phase of LG elections in Sindh province.
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