KARACHI: The Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), a major opposition alliance in the Sindh Assembly, on Friday called upon Prime Minister Imran Khan to expose and take action against those legislators who allegedly “sold their conscience” and did not vote for its candidate for a general seat in the Senate elections in the province.

Talking to media on the premises of the Sindh Assembly, GDA parliamentary leader Husnain Mirza, flanked by other party MPAs, expressed resentment and concern over the “betrayal” by the members of allied parties and said: “We voted for all candidates of the joint opposition but in response, our candidate didn’t get votes from six lawmakers.”

All opposition candidates, except GDA’s Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi, the brother of Pir Pagara, won their seats as the joint opposition lost its eight votes.

Says ECP has ‘failed’ to fulfil its responsibility of conducting free, fair polls

Mr Mirza said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) managed to get their candidates elected on seats reserved for women and technocrats, respectively, with the GDA’s support. “We did what we had committed to our colleagues by supporting them on reserved seats, but we were denied votes by them on a general seat,” he added. He proposed that the GDA, PTI and MQM-P sit together and try to find out those six members who “sold their conscience”.

Mr Mirza criticised the ECP for allowing seven Pakistan Peoples Party members to let their vote cast by party colleagues.

GDA MPA Shaheryar Mahar said that their candidate in Sindh lost in the same manner in which Hafeez Shaikh lost in Islamabad. “We have proof and have sent the same to the prime minister for taking strict action the way he took against PTI members in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who defied party policy in Senate elections in 2018,” he said.

Replying to a question, he said that the GDA was with Prime Minister Khan and would continue supporting him.

The joint opposition in the Sindh Assembly had fielded five candidates — Faisal Sabzwari of the MQM-Pakistan, PTI’s Faisal Vawda and Sadaruddin Rashdi of the GDA on general seats and Saifullah Abro of the PTI and Khalida Ateeb of the MQM-P on technocrat and women seats, respectively. However, it could manage to collectively get only 57 votes contrary to its strength of 65.

Two PTI members — Mohammad Aslam Abro and Shaheryar Khan Shar — had openly announced that they would not vote for opposition candidates, but it is not clear who were the six other members to defy the joint strategy.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2021

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