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PTI to Boycott Senate Election in Sindh

PPP likely to win majority of seats in Upper House from Sindh after boycott decision

by Staff Report
PTI leaders address press conference in Karachi on March 31, 2024

PTI leaders address press conference in Karachi on March 31, 2024. Photo courtesy X

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday announced a boycott of the Senate elections in Sindh, scheduled for April 2 (Tuesday), after alleging “pre-poll rigging” from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which has a majority in the Sindh Assembly.

“Senate elections are being won through rigging,” alleged PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh at a press conference in Karachi. “We fielded six candidates from Sindh. The fact is that if our mandate wouldn’t have been stolen on Feb. 8, we could have won reserved seats of minorities and women as well,” he claimed. He said the boycott decision was a result of consensus among the party’s leadership, which believed the PPP and its allies had a “fake mandate” and the PTI was still a victim of political vendetta.

Questioning the legitimacy of the Senate election, he claimed that the “rigging” during the Feb. 8 general elections was “pre-poll” rigging for the Senate elections.

Referring to the recent election of PPP’s Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari to the National Assembly unopposed, the PTI leaders claimed this reflected their concerns. “Our candidate from NA-207 was kidnapped and forced to withdraw his nomination,” claimed Ali Palh, the secretary-general of PTI Sindh. “How can you expect free and fair elections in such a situation? Those who won elections as per Form-45 are not part of the Sindh Assembly,” he alleged, reiterating claims of PTI-backed candidates losing the general elections through “tampered” Form-47s.

The PPP has fielded 11 candidates for the Senate from Sindh, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (Pakistan) has just one candidate. The PPP candidates are Syed Masroor Ahsan, Syed Kazim Ali Shah, Jeean Khan Sarfaraz Rajar, Nadeem Ahmed Bhutto, Dost Ali Jessar, Ashraf Ali Jatoi, Sarmad Ali, Zamir Hussain Ghumro, Poonjo, Qurat-ul-Ain Marri and Rubina Qaimkhani. The MQM-P’s candidate is Amir Waliuddin Chishti.

Faisal Vawda is also contesting the polls as an independent candidate backed by the MQM-P.

Independent candidates backed by the PTI—Mehjabeen Riaz, Ali Tahir, Mir Raja Khan Jakhrani, Abdul Wahab, Manzoor Ahmed Bhutta, and Bhagwan Das—are unlikely to secure any votes after the PTI’s boycott. In this scenario, the PPP is likely to win 10 seats, while the MQM-P would win 1.

PPP rejects allegations

Rejecting the PTI’s allegations, PPP leaders told a press conference at Bilawal House in Karachi that the opposition party was trying to create unwarranted controversy around the uncontested victory of Aseefa in NA-207. “If by-elections were conducted, Bibi Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari would have undoubtedly secured 150,000-250,000 votes,” claimed Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani.

He also dismissed allegations of the abduction of the PTI’s candidate in NA-207, adding the rejection of PTI candidate Sher Muhammad Rind’s nomination forms was linked to his status as an absconder in a Balochistan case. Covering candidate Bahawal Rind, he claimed, was rejected for failing to disclose his assets in accordance with legal requirements.

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