UMERKOT: Pakistan Peoples Party minority wing’s general secretary Poonjo Bheel has lamented that all political parties, including PPP, always prefer affluent favourites over poor scheduled caste candidates for reserved seats in assemblies and therefore urged the parties to review their tickets distribution policy.

Advocate Bheel said at a news conference at local press club here on Friday that Bheel, Meghwar, Oad and Kolhi communities had a clear majority among Hindu scheduled caste groups in Sindh but their representatives were always ignored when it came to distribution of tickets.

He said that he as well as Dr Khatoo Mal Jewan belonged to the communities that had large vote banks but their names were pushed down to number five and 10 on the list of candidates for reserved seats and the seths’ names were placed on top in a stark example of injustice.

He said that political parties passed the buck to law enforcement agencies and argued that the agencies recommended to them the names of influential seths. Therefore, he asked the LEAs why their names were not recommended as they too were patriotic Pakistanis, he said.

Claims PPP also prefers affluent elites with small vote bank over candidates wielding greater support

He said that scheduled caste communities had 90 per cent votes of minorities but still the two per cent seths who were not voted even by their own women were given priority.

He was not trying to blackmail the party leadership with the claim that he had 80,000 votes but he just wanted to draw the leaders’ attention towards their genuine issues, he said.

He demanded the government allow them to select their leaders through dual vote in general elections. It would also help decrease sense of deprivation among their community, he said.

He stressed that he was associated with PPP and would always be with PPP. “I won’t part ways with the party but just want to say that all the Muslim candidates are elected by the votes of the scheduled caste communities,” he said.

Bheel deplored that influential seths opposed putting names of scheduled caste candidates on top of the list and warned if they were prioritized in the distribution of reserved seats then they would not accept it.

He said that he was not advocating for himself but he wanted other youths from the scheduled caste communities to be given priority. Therefore, he called for a review of the distribution policy of the reserved seats’ tickets. The capitalist seths had dollars to offer but the poor scheduled caste had votes and sacrifices, he said, adding Sindh was his motherland and his first priority.

He said that he quit MQM-P because the party was against Sindh and asked Bilawal to introduce land reforms aimed at distributing feudal lords’ landholdings among landless peasants.

He said that he would keep raising his voice till he was heard.

Saloo Mal Bheel, Hakeem Darawarr of Bheel Sujag Movement, Raichand Bheel, advocate Aidan Bheel, Amoon Bheel, Heman Bachwani, advocate Sohno Oad, advocate Mor Oad and others also attended the press conference.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2023

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