HYDERABAD, May 10: Tando Mohammad Khan, which popped up on the province’s map last year for all the wrong reasons, unfortunately, after widow of a Pakistan Peoples Party MPA slapped an assistant presiding officer during by-polls, has mostly rewarded the PPP with victory in all elections since 1988.
It is poised to repeat history again but it will not be that easy for the party this time.
It will have to navigate through rough waters to clinch wins in its stronghold.
Mirs, scions of Sindh’s last ruling dynasty, used to dominate the area’s political scene until Z.A. Bhutto’s PPP made inroads in the area. The district crowned PPP’s Qazi Abdul Majeed with first win on NA-222 in 1988 polls. Since then, Naveed Qamar has clinched victory after victory in all elections from 1990 to 2008.
Likewise, PPP’s Mohsin Shah Bukhari had been bagging Sindh Assembly seat, PS-44, in almost all elections since 1988 to 1997. The constituency was later renamed as PS-53.
PPP’s Qabool Mohammad Shah won PS-45 in 1988 and 1990 polls. The seat later became PS-54, which was again won by PPP’s Amin Lakho and Abdul Khaliq Soomro in 1993 and 1997 polls.
In May 11 polls, former defence minister Syed Naveed Qamar will try his best to retain NA-222. He is pitted against Pir Sajjad Jan Sarhandi of PML-F, Dr Ahmed Noonari of Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party (STP) and Mohammad Anwar of MQM.
On PS-53, PPP’s Ejaz Shah Bukhari faces PML-F’s Inayat Talpur, former district nazim of Tando Mohammad Khan, STP’s Dr Ahmed Noonari, MQM’s Ejaz Ali Panwhar and Jamaat-i-Islami’s Naseem Akhtar.
PML-F’s Syed Zulfikar Ali Shah will take on PPP’s Abdul Karim Soomro and STP’s Dr Noonari on PS-54. Shah is a joint candidate of the 10-party alliance.
In 2002 election, Mohsin Shah Bukhari lost PS-53 to National Alliance’s Mir Ali Nawaz Talpur by 466 votes. But late Bukhari reclaimed it in 2008 while Abdul Karim Soomro won PS-54.
After Bukhari’s death last year, his widow Waheeda Shah tried to retain the seat within family in by-elections but for her loose temper, which cost her a sure victory and earned her too much negative publicity across the country. She slapped an assistant presiding officer at a polling station. The incident was broadcast on mainstream TV channels, prompting Supreme Court to take its suo motu notice. She was subsequently disqualified by the election commission but she opted to challenge her disqualification.
STP’s Dr Noonari is contesting polls for the first time whereas Talpur joined the PML-F a few months after the party quit Sindh government over differences over local government law.
Talpur remained district nazim of Tando Mohammad Khan after winning 2005 local bodies polls. The real fight will be between Ejaz Shah Bukhari and Talpur, which is expected to throw up unexpected results.
Tando Mohammad Khan has 16 union councils and 260,060 registered voters after expulsion of bogus voters. Their number was 318,867 in 2008 polls.
The fertile and oil rich district faces a host of problems, major among them being shortage of irrigation water thanks to corruption in irrigation department and mismanagement by upstream users of water.
The area used to be a part of ‘sugarcane state’ along with Mirpurkhas and Badin back in 1960s but unfortunately sugarcane production has been on the decline since then for want of water.
The T.M. Khan town has a building of district hospital which has no doctors, life-saving drugs and necessary equipment for surgeries and laboratory tests.
The town lacks a properly functioning drainage system, which causes inundation of streets and low-lying areas in almost every rainy season.
Some roads have been built but streets have not been paved.
The district has a burgeoning number of jobless youths who fail to land any jobs in oil exploration companies, according to a local journalist, Ghulam Nabi Keerio.