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Muttahida wins battle for Hyderabad

Updated November 20, 2015

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A POLICE officer intervenes to avert a clash between the presiding officer and a candidate at a Silawat Para polling station in Hyderabad on Thursday.—Online
A POLICE officer intervenes to avert a clash between the presiding officer and a candidate at a Silawat Para polling station in Hyderabad on Thursday.—Online

HYDERABAD: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement defeated a 10-party alliance formed against it in Hyderabad during the second phase of local government elections on Thursday and appeared set to clinch the slots of mayor and deputy mayor in the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

The Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (Noorani), Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, PML-F, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Hindu Panchayat had formed the alliance — Tameer-i-Ittehad Hyderabad — against the MQM.

However, all the parties in the alliance contested the elections with their own symbols.

The JI-led alliance could not cause any electoral damage to the MQM as unofficial results showed that it failed to make its presence felt.

There are a total of 96 union committees in the City and Latifabad talukas of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, which has been restored under the new local government system introduced by the PPP.

The MQM needs 49 seats of chairmen to bring its mayor.

Election for the chairman/vice chairmen of 74 union committees was held on Thursday since 22 chairmen/vice chairmen have returned unopposed.

A spokesman for the MQM, Aminul Haq, claimed that the results received so far suggested that 24 pairs of chairmen/vice chairmen of the MQM emerged victorious in 24 union committees in Thursday’s polls.

The MQM has already won 21 seats of chairmen/vice chairmen unopposed. Thus, the number of seats of chairmen/vice chairmen it won reached 45 by Thursday midnight.

“We are expecting 70 seats and will hopefully get our mayor and deputy mayor elected unopposed,” Mr Haq said.

The PPP is the only component party of the Tameer-i-Ittehad Hyderabad alliance which secured some union committees in Hyderabad.

Zahid Bhurgari, the PPP’s Hyderabad district president, told Dawn that 12 pairs of chairmen/vice chairmen were elected in Thursday’s polls.

Sahibzada Zubair and Hafiz Tahir Majeed said that their parties — the JUP-Noorani and JI, respectively — could not win a single pair of chairman/vice chairman.

Likewise, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, which independently contested the elections, also lost.

Senior MQM activist Syed Suhail Mehmood Mashadi, who was not very active in politics until recently, and zonal committee member Abid Ghauri won the Thursday polls. Former MNA Mohammad Tayyab and former district naib nazim Zafar Ali Rajput were already elected unopposed. They would now be among the likely choices of their party for the slot of mayor and deputy mayor.

In 1987, MQM’s Aftab Ahmed Sheikh and Abdul Rasheed Khan aka Rasheed Bhayya were elected mayor and deputy mayor, respectively, in the partyless local bodies elections as the candidates of Haq Parast Group.

In 2005, the MQM won the partyless local government elections held during the regime of former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf. MQM’s Kanwar Naveed Jamil was elected district nazim of Hyderabad after the Arbab Ghulam Rahim-led Sindh government carved out three new districts — Matiari, Tando Allahyar and Tando Mohammad Khan — from Hyderabad.

In 2001, PPP’s Dr Makhdoom Rafik Zaman was elected district nazim of Hyderabad.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2015