PPP On Driving Seat In Thatta, Sujawal Ahead Of LG Polls

PPP On Driving Seat In Thatta, Sujawal Ahead Of LG Polls
THATTA: As many as 152 candidates of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have been declared winners unopposed in district Thatta so far, while 136 candidates of PPP have been elected unopposed in Sujawal.

Meanwhile, 410 candidates would lock horns on Sunday for approximately 120 seats in union councils, town committees and district councils. The position of Sindh's ruling party is strong in the coastal districts of Thatta and Sujawal.

Since their establishment in 1967, Thatta and Sujawal have remained under the dominance of Pakistan People's Party, but the rise of the Shirazi group, and political differences among local party leaders and former jiyala's over petty political issues, marred the popularity of the party during the past two decades.

Since 2002, the politics of Thatta and Sujawal districts revolves around the Shirazi group. Syed Shafqat Hussain Shah, who leads the Shirazi clan after the death of his elder brother and seasoned politician Syed Aijaz Ali Shah, plays a vital role in maintaining the political temperature of both districts.

Ali Hassan Zardari, who is said to be the cousin of former President and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, has emerged as a robust political force in the rural areas. He initiated a network of development projects after winning the general election from the constituency of PS-78 Ghorabari, which was probably the most underprivileged area of Thatta district before his emergence on the political scene.

Ali Hassan Zardari, through his calculated strategies, has managed to stamp out all sorts of political challenges and threats for his party in the rural areas of the district. According to different local political analysts, Zardari played the right cards at the right time, and went on to establish his own political stature in the region that would require no external support in the future.

The trio of Riaz Shah Shirazi, Ali Hassan Zardari and Sassui Palijo have kept Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Quami Awami Tahreek, and Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party at bay during the local body elections campaign.

PTI – under the leadership of Arsalan Brohi, Zeeshan Khowaja, Housh Muhammad and Advocate Syed Imran Shah – was emerging as a new political force in both the districts, but with the departure of Zeeshan Khowaja from PTI, the party's political growth in Sujawal and Thatta has stunted.

In Sujawal, PPP has relied on the Malkani tribe of Jati which stretches its roots to Badin and Tando Mohammad Khan. Alongside Rehana Laghari, Altaf Khowaja and Arbab Wazir Memon also strengthen the ranks of the party for LG polls as well as general elections. Malkanis have won their respective seats unopposed from union council Begna and Maro Bhulla Khan; the tribe is now supporting MPA Muhammad Ali Malkani and MNA Ayaz Ali Shah Shirazi to further ease up things for PPP in LG as well as general elections due this year.

District Commissioner Sujawal, Imtiaz Ali Abro, expressed satisfaction at security arrangements made in the district ahead of polls, and said that security had been beefed up outside highly sensitive polling stations of the district.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.