TANDO ALLAHYAR, Sept 4: Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari enrolled herself as a voter on Wednesday in the NA-223 Tando Allahyar constituency, where her mother had contested her life’s last general elections in 1997 in addition to her home district of Larkana.

“I will follow my brother who is my [party’s] chairman and leader and I want empowerment of my people,” said Aseefa, wearing a blue suit with white dupatta (scarf) and the party’s trademark cap. She spoke briefly to journalists in the committee room of Tando Allahyar.

“Qadam barhao Bilawal Bhutto hum tumharay saath heyn,” shouted a jubilant Ms Bhutto-Zardari after taking her seat.

She visited Tando Allahyar amid tight security with her paternal aunt and PPP women wing president, MNA Faryal Talpur. Earlier, she signed papers for her enrolment as a voter.

“The party will keep struggling,” she told Dawn when asked whether she thought the party’s performance needed to be improved after the May 11 polls. “I am PPP, they are PPP and we all are PPP,” she said.

Ms Bhutto-Zardari, also Unicef’s goodwill ambassador against polio, vowed to work for the people of Tando Allahyar.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon told journalists that she had arrived there for her enrolment as a voter. He said her father owned land there and his native village was also situated there. He said the people of Tando Allahyar and local party chapter workers welcomed her.

For security reasons her arrival was kept secret. Party workers and guests remained curious that which VIP was to arrive there. Journalists were told that a VIP was to visit the district.

Sindh Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Jam Khan Shoro, adviser to the CM Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, MNA Kamal Khan Chang, MPAs Imdad Pitafi, Zia Abbas Rizvi, Kulsoom Chandio, Sajeela Leghari and Sharmila Farooqui, PPP Sindh women wing president and MNA Shagufta Jumani and others were present.

Faryal Talpur said that she, Ms Bhutto-Zardari and the entire PPP cadre would help complete Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s mission and they would accompany him in his political journey. “Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will emerge victorious in this journey,” she said and added that the PPP had roots in Tando Allahyar, where the PPP won all seats in the last general elecgtions.

Answering a question, she said it was the party that took decisions on award of party tickets. She said Tando Allahyar had been given a big road project and more development works would be executed.

She said that there were complaints of a rotation programme in different irrigation channels. She added that some complaints had been brought into the notice of the irrigation secretary and the chief minister was aware of that. She said the monsoon season continued and that’s why the irrigation department was releasing controlled water supply. Therefore, she said, a rotation programme was effected. She said as soon as the monsoon was completely over water supply to lands would improve.

Party workers met her in the committee room as she didn’t address them on the lawns where she was supposed to arrive first. Faryal Talpur told party workers who met the young Bhutto in the room that she had worked with Ms Bhutto-Zardari in Qambar Shahdadkot during the last floods and now she would work with her brother in Tando Allahyar. She said the people of the area had emotional attachment to the PPP.

Ms Bhutto-Zardari is now a registered voter of Hakim Zardari village in UC and Taluka Jhando Marri. Tando Allahyar has a national assembly seat and two provincial assembly seats, which were won by PPP candidates in the May 11 elections after Dr Rahila Magsi of the PML-N was defeated by the PPP’s Abdul Sattar Bachani amid charges of massive rigging by the loser candidate. Dr Magsi has filed an appeal before the election tribunal. Enrolment of Ms Bhutto-Zardari, however, as a voter in Tando Allahyar doesn’t bode well for the formidable Magsis in electoral politics.

Benazir Bhutto had won the NA-171 (now NA-223 Tando Allahyar) seat in the 1997 general elections as she decided to contest from there after Ghinwa Bhutto had fought against her on the Larkana seat following the assassination of her husband and MPA Mir Murtaza Bhutto in September 1996. Ms Bhutto beat Dr Rahila Magsi’s father, Allah Bux Magsi.


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