HYDERABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) threw up surprises in Cantonment Board Hyderabad (CBH) election on Sunday as it was able to increase its overall tally of seats from six in 2015 polls to seven in Sept 12 party-based election, causing upsets for its ally, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, and Pakistan Peoples Party.

Unofficial results shared by MQM-P revealed that the party had won wards 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, making it once again the leading party in CBH to grab vice-president’s slot.

PPP believes the ward-5, which covers tax paying areas, is a clear upset where local representatives of PPP like Dr Irfan Gul Magsi and others were highly optimistic to win the seat.

Engineer Irtiza Sheikh was in the fray against MQM-P’s Tariq Parvez Sheikh, who got 536 votes to win, according to results shared by MQM-P. Dr Magsi, a former Sindh minister and notable of the area, had been running Irtiza’s campaign from day one.

The vote difference that enabled Sheikh to win the seat came from Shah Faisal Colony, a katchi abadi that became part of ward-5 under new delimitations. Iqbal Memon who had earlier won from this ward proved to be a vote spoiler as he decided to contest as independent candidate only after being denied ticket by PPP which he had joined after quitting MQM-P.

In this ward PPP had won in male and female polling stations set up in Federal Government Public School. But MQM-P’s lead in polling stations for male and female located in district council building had upset the apple cart. Pervez got 305 and 198 votes at male and female polling stations.

PPP’s Hyderabad district president Saghir Qureshi accused MQM-P MPA Nasir Qureshi of rigging in district council polling station. He, however, confirmed that PPP had won three seats in ward-1, 3 and 4 while result of a female polling station in ward-2 was pending.

“But PPP was not in winning position in ward-2 even if we’ve got a lead in the polling stations because from our point of view PTI was going to win this seat. It is surprising that MQM-P has grabbed this seat,” he said.

MQM-P local leader Rashid Khan claimed that ward-10 where his party had won, the presiding officer was not signing result of a polling station on the ground that he was not BS-16 official. If he was not BS-16 official then why was he posted as presiding officer in the first place, he asked.

PTI’s Kashif Qadir Sheikh, a newcomer in politics, had put up a tough fight against PPP’s Kazi Ashhad, who won with 60 votes in ward-4 and eventually the latter managed to retain his seat although there were reports that voters were annoyed with him. It was Sheikh’s maiden election.

PPP’s Abdul Rehman Pathan won with comfortable margin in ward-3 and was easily able to retain the seat again. He had won this seat as independent candidate in last CBH polls by having secured 766 votes as he mainly draws his electoral strength from sweeper colony barely paces away from his present residence.

“Our party has silent votes,” said PTI’s Ahmed Rasheed who was present with PTI’s Ashraf Memon outside Ziauddin Park in the afternoon in ward-4. He alleged that PPP supporters were not allowing voters from sweeper colony to reach PTI’s election camp.

MQM-P has also surprisingly won ward-2 by a massive margin by beating PTI’s Rashid Mahmood Awan alias Baba Jee. MQM-P’s Abid Hussain grabbed 927 votes against Rashid’s 528 votes. This constituency covers Pathan and Millat-i- Islamiya colonies.

PPP’s Faqir Mohammad Kumbhar has again won his constituency by securing 662 votes. He is a labourer and runs his pottery shop in Kumbhar Para.

Pak Sarzameen Party could not win even a single seat. In one of constituencies in ward-3, the party’s woman candidate received only five votes. But in other constituencies it was able to get over 150 votes.

Like Iqbal Memon, TLP also proved to be a vote spoiler for the main contestants.

Polling remained thoroughly peaceful at all 35 polling stations. No untoward incident was reported from any quarter. Neither polling personnel nor polling agents made any complaint about shortage of material or inadequate staff. Some voters did insist on casting votes with photocopy of their national identity cards but they were not allowed by presiding officers concerned.

“We can allow a voter to cast vote even with expired NIC but original one. No voter can cast vote after producing photocopy of his/her NIC,” said a female presiding officer in Jinnah Colony.

At female polling station number 2 in ward-8 Jinnah Colony, 368 votes were polled out of 1,333 registered votes by 4.05 pm while 468 votes were polled in female polling station in ward-9 set up in dispensary of Mujahid Colony by 4.15pm.

155 and 107 votes respectively were polled at male and female polling stations set up in Federal Government Junior School out of registered votes of 922 by 12.30pm. Initially, the polling moved at a snail’s pace but then in the second half of the day voters reached or were brought to polling stations in sizeable number.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2021

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