DADU: Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Abdul Aziz Junejo had no difficulty in winning the by-election of PS-76 (Khairpur Nathan Shah) on Thursday, especially after early pullout from the race of the influential Jatoi group, securing 70,000 out of 148,857 registered votes, according to unofficial results.

Even after withdrawal of Mr Junejo’s major rival Ihsan Ali Jatoi, younger brother of former Sindh chief minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi, some weaker contestants remained in the field to fight it out.

They were Ali Hassan Janwari of the Sindh Tarraqqi-pasand Party, Rafique Khoso of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, independents Asghar Shaikh, Asad, Umid Ali, Noor Ahmad, Daud Leghari, Dad Mirbahar, Zulfiqar Shah, Idris Sodhar, Abdul Hai and Siraj Soho.

The election remained peaceful throughout the day with no report of violence from any polling station. There were only PPP polling agents at the polling stations and other contestants had not even taken the trouble of sending their agents to help their voters.

Speaking to Dawn after the electoral victory, Mr Junejo attributed the win to people’s unwavering love for the Junejo family and said that before him, they had made his father Haji Amir Bux Junejo MPA four times, once granted the win to his former wife Parveen Junejo and today they had elected him their representative.

He said that one could gauge people’s support and love for him from the fact that people voluntarily refused to act as polling agents for other anti-PPP contestants who could manage only a handful of agents at a few polling stations.

PPP activists celebrated the victory by taking out rallies from different parts of K.N. Shah, 50 kilometres from Dadu. The rallies reached Khanpur, native town of Mr Junejo where the participants danced to the drumbeat and party songs in front of his autaq and distributed sweets.

Ihsan Jatoi, major candidate for the PS-76, who along with other candidates of Jatoi group Dhani Bux Jatoi, nephew of Liaquat Jatoi and Sikandar Khunharo, close friend of Liaquat Jatoi, had boycotted the by-election, said that he did not accept the sham election.

He said that the PPP had started working very early on a plan to secure victory by implicating friends and supporters of the Jatoi brothers in fake cases as soon as the party came to power in the centre as well as in the province.

He said that general elections of 2013 and recent local bodies’ elections witnessed large-scale irregularities and bogus votes in favour of PPP candidates.

That was why they decided not to be part of a sham election in which the result had already been engineered, he said.

However, the Jatoi brothers would never leave people of K.N. Shah at the mercy of PPP leaders and would never allow them to victimise people, he warned.

Meanwhile, Dadu DRO Aijaz Anwar Chohwan told journalists after visiting a number of polling stations that the elections remained peaceful and no untoward incident took place at any polling station across the constituency.

Dadu SSP Sheeraz Nazeer Abbasi said that police and Rangers personnel provided foolproof security at all polling stations. Police patrolled the streets while Rangers were deployed outside polling stations to keep an eye on everything, he said.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2016