Taliban’s presence benefits MQM

 ANP may boycott elections in Karachi

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The growing presence of Taliban may have long-term downsides to the peace of the port city of Karachi but in short-term if it has brought bad to the enemy number one, Awami National Party (ANP), it has certainly benefited its enemy number two, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), by not allowing voters’ registration in Pashtun localities of the city.

An ANP’s internal source said this along with other factors including direct threat from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Karachi has forced the local leadership to boycott the elections. A person very close to the party circles told The Frontier Post on the condition not be named that the leadership is reluctant to obey the orders of central leadership which has categorically announced to contest forthcoming elections from all seats.

One of the party’s provincial headquarters, Mardan House, issued on Friday a statement that the party would fight elections on all Sindh seats where its electorates exist.
The source, however, said that lack of registration in Pashtun areas by Election Commission due to Taliban threat perception has manifold the worries of local leaders who are forced to take risk for the uncertain elections results.

The source informs that the staff of election commission has not entered into the areas under Taliban influence, badly affecting the electorates of not only ANP but also Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), having got elected in past with highly evident anti-MQM Pashtun votes from these areas.

The vicinities where the process of registration and verification of voters could not be carried out include, Janjal Goth, Lasi Goth, Machar colony, Ayub Goth and Al-Asif squire which drastically impacts the result of PS- 126 from where the candidate of JI, Muhammad Younis Barai was elected to Sindh Assembly in 2002.

The process has also not been carried out in Shafique Colony and Madina Colony, a resident of these areas hailing from Waziristan told this scribe.

A large number of citizens, mostly from the tribal areas and divided into three provincial seats PS-100, 102 and 103, including Manghopir, Kunwari colony, Sultanabad, New Mianwali colony, Sultanabad, Pakhtunabad, Qasba colony, Bhangi Para and other adjacent Pashtun localities also remained unregistered during the recent process. The votes had been transferred at their permanent addresses in the forged lists.

The verification staff did not go to Itehad Town and Pir Bangash colony of PS-94 which can impact the outcome of elections on this seat. Although, the process has been carried out in areas of PS-93, the constituency of ANP MPA and former provincial minister Amir Nawab and around 60 percent of the illegible votes have been registered, the situation in PS-128 is gravely affected due to the law and order situation.

No verification process has been done in the major areas of PS-128, the seat which ANP had grabbed in 2008 general elections. Gulshan-e-Buner, Muzaffarabad colony, Geedar colony, Quidabad and cattle colony of this provincial assembly seat have not been covered during the verification process.

Although, Qamar Sultana Ruvi, District Election Commissioner West Karachi refused to comment, an official in the district election commissioner West office on the condition of anonymity conceded that the staff of election commission has refrained from entering into the mentioned areas due to Taliban threat perception.

The spokesman of ANP Sindh, Pir Riaz Gul, while talking to The Frontier Post endorsed that the verification process couldn’t be fruitful as the major areas with Pashtun votes remained unvisited by the verification staff of election commission.

The ANP leader told “the Pashtun registration has improved within 2 years from 2010 till date and in the PS-94 ANP has been able to enhance its registered votes from 1700 to 14,000” But he further said the areas with Taliban influence especially the adjacent areas of Sohrab Goth, only the ANP hardcore members in their own capacity have got themselves registered for using their constitutional right to poll votes.

When asked whether the lack of registration can force the party to boycott the general polls in Karachi Gul said “a very tough time is ahead for ANP in the city but ANP Karachi can not make any decision by its own. We may not boycott the elections as it’s the decision of central leadership.” He added the elections in such situation may not bring positive results for the party in Karachi.

“We are negotiating with JUI-F and JI for an electoral alliance in the city but these talks have not been productive yet” told Gul, adding the Pashtun vote bank already being dented by lack of registration may remain unproductive after its division among anti MQM parties.

Published on March 24, 2013

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/213405/

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Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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