Coalition allies split over LG posts
By Razzak Abro
KARACHI: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) is facing difficulties in finalising its candidates for top slots of district and taluka governments due to differences among its local leadership and allies.
Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who is also provincial president of the party, has already began his second round of tour of various districts after completion of first round he had undertook during the two phases of the local governments elections.
He began his second round tour from his home district Tharparkar on Sunday and announced nomination of his nephew Arbab Anwar as candidate for district nazim of the district.
On Tuesday he arrived in Umerkot where he also spoke to newly-elected councillors and nazims of various union councils of the district. He is expected to visit other districts, especially those where his party leaders and allies have differences over nominations for district and taluka government’s slots.
In Sindh interior the ruling PML and its allies have differences in at least nine districts. These districts are Badin, Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammad Khan, Umerkot, Larkana, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Naushehro Feroze, and Kashmore.
In Badin district two heavy weights, provincial minister for population Syed Ali Bakhsh Shah alias Pappu Shah and district president of the PML Anwar Halepoto are active to get their favorite persons nominated for the slot of district nazim. Pappu Shah wants nomination of his wife Senator Yasmin Shah, and Mr Halepoto is lobbying for himself or Bashir Halepoto for the slot.
Former provincial minister Ismail Rahu is also active and he wants at least the slot of taluka nazim of Golarchi for his nominated person. In Tando Muhammad Khan district two influential families, Talpurs and Shahs, are in the race to get their favourites nominated for the top slot of the district.
A similar situation exists in district Umerkot where Sindh Assembly Speaker Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah and adviser to the Sindh chief minister for fisheries and livestock Faqir Jadim Mangrio are active to get more for their favourites.
In district Naushero Feroze though the Jatoi group, led by the family of Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, has won most seats in the district and are in a position to get one of their family members elected as the district nazim, former provincial minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is exerting pressure to get more for his group. Pir Pagara-led PML-F has already announced the nomination of Asad Junejo, son of former prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, as candidate for district nazim of Mirpurkhas. But the ruling PML’s district president, Khair Muhammad Junejo, seems unhappy with the decision and wants the top slot for his favourite. PPP MNA Syed Qurban Shah, whose son Syed Mumtaz Shah recently joined the ruling PML after meeting Chief Minister Dr Arbab, also wants a rural taluka for his son.
In district Shikarpur where government allies Jatois and Mahers are rivals are in the run to get their candidates nominated for the top slot of the district.
Former district nazim and son of Federal minister for Narcotics Ghaus Bakhsh Maher, Arif Maher has announced that he will contest again for the slot.
But PML MNA Dr Ibrahim Jatoi is opposing any candidate from among the Mahers and is engaged in canvassing for support from other groups to field a strong candidate from the other side. In district Larkana provincial minister without portfolio Altaf Unar, Sindh minister for education Dr Hamida Khuhro’s cousin Masood Khuhro and PML (F)-backed Rashidis are active to get their candidates nominated.
In district Jacobabad Senate Chairman Mohammedmian Soomro wants nomination of his mother, Saeeda Soomro, for the top slot of the district. But former provincial minister Sardar Muqeem Khoso is openly opposing her candidature.
Provincial minister for inter-provincial coordination Dr Sohrab Sarki, who had changed his loyalty from the PPP during presidential vote of confidence, is also exerting pressure to get a lucrative post for his brother Zulfiqar Sarki.
Though ruling PML MNA Salim Jan Mazari is a strong person in Kashmore district, Mir Mehran Khan Bijarani, a rival of PPP’s Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, also wants something in return for his support to PML candidates in the local government elections.