HYDERABAD: The leaders of Tameer-i-Hyderabad Ittehad, an electoral alliance for the local government elections, accused the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) of using official machinery, the returning officers and the police besides harassment tactics to win the elections.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the Ittehad’s leaders demanded that army be deployed in Hyderabad and the city be declared very sensitive.
“By appointing the ROs of a ‘terrorist’ organisation, the process of elections has been made dubious,” said Zahid Bhurgari, a former provincial minister and the district president of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). “Our candidates, their proposers, seconders and families were harassed. Some were stopped from submitting [nomination] forms, others were forced to withdraw and, if this was not enough, the ROs rejected forms of several candidates by showing them as absent during the scrutiny process.”
The PPP leader went on to say that the candidates for the posts of chairperson and vice-chairperson, who survived the nomination process, are now being threatened by the MQM to retire from the elections. He claimed that the Ittehad’s leaders have time and again submitted complaints to the Election Commission of Pakistan and Hyderabad SSP Irfan Baloch but no avail.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) district ameer Hafiz Tahir Majeed, Jamaat Ulema-e-Pakistan’s (JUP) Dr Younus Danish and Pakistan Muslim League — Functional’s (PML-F) Nazim Arain, who accompanied Bhurgari, shared several instances of harassment of their candidates. They also accused the MQM, the ROs and the police of allegedly working with each other to help the party win the elections.
They claimed that many SHOs in the police stations are supporters of the MQM, demanding their immediate removal. They also called for deploying the soldiers and installing closed-circuit television cameras inside the polling stations.
The 10-party alliance comprises PPP, JI, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, JUP, Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz, PML-F, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam — Fazl and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam — Samiul Haq. The informal grouping has been formed to challenge the MQM in the LG elections of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC), which consists of City and Latifabad talukas of Hyderabad. The two other talukas, Qasimabad and Hyderabad Rural, have separate municipal bodies.
The HMC includes 96 union committees. The MQM’s candidates have won unopposed on 22 of the UC seats. The PPP candidates won only one UC seat uncontested. The elections are scheduled on November 19.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.