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HYDERABAD, May 6: Hyderabad is going to witness some high profile and interesting contests on May 11. Pakistan Peoples Party’s Sharjeel Inam Memon and a former PPP diehard, Khawind Bux Jahejo, are engaged in a serious contest for PS-50 on the one hand and Qaumi Awami Tehrik’s Ayaz Latif Palijo is vying for PS-47 Qasimabad against PPP’s Jam Khan Shoro on the other.

Besides, it is to be seen whether the 10-party alliance candidate from Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan Sahibzada Abul Khair Mohammad Zubair will repeat history of the 2002 polls when he had defeated MQM’s Aftab Ahmed Sheikh. The Sahibzada was a Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate and regained the seat lost in 1988 by JUP chief Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani. It was a period when MQM emerged as a political force and dealt a severe blow to religious parties and breaking their vote banks in Karachi and Hyderabad. Likewise, PPP heavyweight Ameer Ali Shah Jamote will try to retain his NA-221 seat to complete his hat-trick of victories.

MQM has won the present NA-220 seat four times, JUP thrice and PML-N once over the past 43 years. NA-219 of Latifabad, created in 1977, was won by Jamaat-i-Islami and PPP one time each whereas MQM grabbed it for five times. NA-219 has PS-48 and PS-49; NA-220 has PS-45 and PS-46 and NA-221 has PS-47 and PS-50. NA-219 covers Latifabad taluka, NA-220 stretches over the city taluka and NA-221 is Qasimabad and rural talukas specific constituency.

There used to be only one seat in 1970 i.e. NW-118 with 173,387 registered votes. The city used to be under religious parties’ dominance then. Mohammad Ali Rizvi, a religious scholar, won it in the 1970 polls beating JI’s Wasi Mazhar Nadvi, who was subsequently elected in party-less polls and became member of Majlis-i-Shura in 1985. NW-118 used to have three provincial assembly seats — PS-25, PS-26 and PS-27. JUP’s Usman Kennedy had won PS-25 in the 1970 elections but his rival Lal Bin Yusuf of PPP had got him disqualified. But in the by-polls, Mr Kennedy again won it.

Syed Ahad Yusuf won PS-26 but in the wake of poll related controversy PPP’s Badiuzaman was declared successful. Yusuf challenged the result and his appeal was decided in 1977.

His rival had to pay a fine of Rs10,000 to him. PS-27 was for Latifabad which was won by Nawab Muzaffar, father of former Sindh PML-F general secretary Nawab Rashid Ali Khan.

In 1977 NW-118 had split in 167 (Hyderabad city) and 168 (Latifabad) after parliament seats were increased. Likewise in 1985 changes were made again and NA-167 became NA-168 (city) and NA-168 169 (Latifabad). Both seats remained with the MQM from 1988 to 1990.

The party boycotted the 1993 NA elections.

In 1988, Aftab Ahmed Sheikh got 80,935 votes against 5,871 of Pakistan Awami Ittehad’s Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani on NA-168; Kanwar Naveed Jamil was elected in 1990 from here with 76,578. His rival Shah Faridul Haq of JUP got 13,949 votes; PML-N’s Shabbir Ansari won this seat with 18,562 votes beating PPP’s Amanullah Siyal (9,832 votes) in 1993 and MQM’s Tariq Jawaid with 51,226 votes beat Shabbir Ansari (16,234 votes) in 1997. This seat became NA-220 in 2002 and MMA’s Sahibzada Zubair won it with 41,190 votes against Aftab Sheikh’s 40,580 votes. MQM’s Salahuddin won it with 147,040 in the last polls against PPP’s Irfan Qureshi, who got 24,108 votes.

Likewise, in 1988 MQM’s Rasheed Ahmed Khan won NA-169 with 72,351 votes against PPP’s Haji Mohammad Rasheed; MQM’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui got 91,373 votes against 24,259 of Mirza Ashiq Hussain Baig of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDA) in 1990; PPP’s Qazi Asad Abid won it with 17,837 votes against Nawab Yamin of PML-N in 1993; Dr Khalid Maqbool of MQM got 54,044 votes against 8,254 of Zahid Bhurgari of PPP.

In 2002, this seat became NA-219 when MQM’s Prof Khalid Wahab got 36,755 votes against 8,762 votes of PPP’s Chaudhry Bashir Gujjar and MQM’s Tayyab Hussain won it with 168,136 votes against 25,343 votes of PPP’s Ali Mohammad Sehto in 2008. Setback to MQM on NA-220 was due to some organisational issues within the local chapter of the party.

Secondly, Aftab Ahmed Sheikh had been away from the party for quite some time. The party also boycotted the 2001 partyless LB polls which was another important factor leading to election of JUP-backed candidate Haji Moinuddin Sheikh in 2001. Sahibzada Zubair was backed by the PPP and he beat MQM’s Aftab Ahmed Sheikh with 610 votes.

Now MQM has fielded former MPA Syed Wasim Hussain for NA-220 against Sahibzada Zubair and PPP’s Saghir Qureshi is there besides Bilal Ahmed of the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz (MDM).

Keeping the 2002 defeat in mind, MQM is not taking things lying down on NA-220. It has expedited its door-to-door campaign in every street or lane. Sahibzada Zubair and JI candidates accuse MQM of creating hurdles in their election campaigns. PPP’s Saghir Qureshi is taking the contest seriously, too.

JUP’s Hussain Bux Hussaini faces PML-F’s Nizam Arain and PPP’s Jiando Soomro on PS-45 that forms part of NA-220. Sunni Tehrik candidates, Rizwan Qureshi on NA-220 and Sajid Kazmi on PS-45 have retired in favour of JUP candidates for the seats.

PS-45 was won by JUP’s Abdul Rehman Rajput as MMA candidate in 2002 polls. Rajput quit MMA to join PML-Q ahead of re-election of President Musharraf. Sunni Tehrik has quit alliance at Hyderabad level.

On PS-46, JI’s Abdul Waheed Qureshi is up against MQM’s Rashid Khilji and Jamat-i-Islami’s Abdul Waheed Qureshi from the 10-party alliance.

It is a triangular contest on NA-219 between MQM’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the alliance’s Sheikh Shaukat (originally of JI) and PPP’s Ali Mohammad Sahto. On PS-48, MQM’s Zubair Ahmed Khan is facing PPP’s Rajab Khaskheli and alliance’s Humayun Khan from JUI-F whereas on PS-49, MQM’s Sabir Kaimkhani is challenging PPP’s Abdul Jabbar Khan, and alliance’s Dr Saifur Rehman from JI and Muttahida Deeni Mahaz’s Ghaniur Rehman.

PPP’s Ameer Ali Shah Jamote has two successive wins to his credit on NA-221 with 44,899 and 102,737 votes in the last two polls, respectively. He is facing alliance’s Dr Rajab Memon (from the STP), who is relatively comfortable after retirement of another alliance candidate, Abdul Latif Junejo of the Sindh United Party (SUP). MQM’s Ghazi Salahuddin, formerly of People’s Students Federation, has joined MQM a few years back and contesting for NA-221.

QAT’s Ayaz Latif Palijo is the alliance candidate against PPP’s Jam Khan Shoro on PS-47. Palijo has geared up the pace of his campaign as SUP’s Abdul Latif Junejo has retired from the race in his favour. But presence of Mehboob Abro, a former PPP activist, still makes Mr Palijo uncomfortable.

The contest between Sharjeel Memon and Khawind Bux Jahejo on Tandojam’s PS-50 is to be an interesting clash. Mr Jahejo is regarded as a potential candidate. PML-F’s Shahabuddin Shah Hussaini is there, too, and is a little relaxed after retirement of STP’s Hyder Shahani in his favour.

Jahejo has reportedly won support of MQM which hasn’t fielded candidate against him. It is said that Mr Jahejo may join MQM if he wins. Mr Memon had earlier won a by-election from Tharparkar.