LG Elections: Parties Come Under One Umbrella against MQM
HYDERABAD: Around a dozen mainstream and religious parties have joined hands to take on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the upcoming local government elections in Hyderabad. The alliance has been given the name of the Tameer Hyderabad Ittehad, led by Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan’s (JUP) chief, Sahibzada alKhair Muhammad Zubair.
“Our coalition [has been formed] against terrorists, extortionists and those who have brought Hyderabad to the edge of destruction,” said Zubair at the all parties meeting convened on Friday by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
The alliance consists of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, JI, JUP, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Hindu Panchayat. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and the Sunni Tehreek raised objections to certain modalities of the grouping and sought time to seek approval for joining it from their party heads.
Hyderabad is divided into six separate municipal administrations. The Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) comprises the City and Latifabad talukas, District Council in the Rural taluka, Municipal Committee in Qasimabad taluka and two municipal committees for the rural towns of Tando Jam and Husri in Hyderabad rural taluka.
Although the league is said to represent Hyderabad, it will fight the real battle in the MQM-dominated City and Latifabad talukas to win a majority in the HMC, which includes 96 union committees (UCs). “So far, we have reached an agreement with the parties for the HMC. We may try to broaden it at a later stage,” Zubair told The Express Tribune.
The people in both these areas have elected the MQM’s candidates in previous general and local government elections since 1988. But the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal defeated the MQM in the 2002 general elections on a National Assembly seat, won by JUP’s Zubair, and a provincial assembly seat.
The MQM boycotted the 2002 LG elections, paving the way for the PPP to form the local government. But the party’s nazim was elected in the following LG elections in 2005.
According to former provincial minister Zahid Bhurgari, who is also PPP’s district president, a high-powered committee and a technical committee have been formed to finalise the candidates. “All the parties will submit the names of their candidates to the committees starting from today. We will try to finalise the candidates before the last date of nomination papers [September 17],” he said.
He added that they also have the option to allow multiple candidates to file nominations until the committee decides which party can be given a particular UC to contest. The remaining nominees will be asked to withdraw.
The PTI’s leader, Syed Ahmed Rashid, told The Express Tribune that he objected to the PPP being in the coalition. “We have not yet decided to join the Ittehad until the party high-ups approve it,” he said.
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