The new constituencies have proved heavy on Sindh’s second-largest district in the area, Sanghar. Both the warring political parties, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Muslim League Functional (PML-F), are worried about reducing one seat each in the National Assembly (NA) and the Sindh Assembly. However, so far, only PPP has raised objections.
In the last census, the second largest district of Sindh in terms of area, Sanghar, had a population of 20,49,873, and three national and six provincial seats were given here in electoral constituencies.
In the recent population census, the population of this district is 2,38,465.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), each national constituency in Sindh will have a population of around 913,520, based on the quota. The provincial constituency has now been built on a population of 4,28,432.
In its preliminary report of the ECP, it’s mentioned that 2.53 national constituencies were formed in the Sanghar district in terms of population, but two constituencies have been given here. One constitution has been eliminated by ignoring the remaining 53 seats.
According to this report, 5.39 constituencies of the Sindh Assembly were formed under quota in Sanghar. A provincial constituency has also been dissolved, ignoring the remaining 39 seats.
In the last election, this district had three national constituencies: NA-215, NA-116, and NA-117. Now, with the completion of one constituency in the new delimitation, the new serial numbers of the constituencies have also become NA-209 and NA-210.
Taluka (Tehsil) Jam Nawaz Ali, Taluk Khipro, Town Committee of Sanghar Taluka Kandiari, Peeron Mill, Sadhnu, Behram Bhari, Tapidari (Patwar) Circles Bobi of Sanjhuru Taluk, Dharam Rakhi, Lakha, Shafi Muhammad and Thahim were involved in Dissolved National Constituency NA 216 (Formerly).
The second national constituency of Sanghar consisted of Sanghar and Sinjhoro talukas (tehsils), while the third included Tando Adam and Shahdadpur. In the new constituencies, the erstwhile NA-216 areas have been made part of the other two national constituencies.
According to the new proposals of the ECP, now NA-209 will consist of Sanghar 1, Sanghar taluka, Khipro taluka, Jam Nawaz Ali taluka, Jhol Supervisory Tapidari circle of Sinjhoro taluka and town committee of Jhol.
Similarly, NA-210 has included the rest of Sinjhoro taluka apart from Sanghar 2, Tando Adam taluka, and Shahdadpur taluka except Jhol Supervisory Tapidari Circle and Town Committee Jhol.
The dissolved National Constituency NA-216 was once considered the stronghold of the PMLF or ‘Hur Jamaat’. However, in 2013, Shazia Atta Marri of the PPP wrested this seat from the PML-F. She also defeated Grand Democratic Alliance’s (GDA) Kishan Chand Parwani in 2018.
Sanghar Sinjhoro National Constituency was also won by Naveed Dero of PPP for the first time from the PMLF in the last election.
65-year-old Gulab Mehraj, a social worker in Khapro, says that the caliphs of the Hur Jamaat did not pay attention to the development work here and did not keep in touch with the people.
“They believed that they got the votes due to Peer Pagara and that they’d keep getting them in the future, too. But they were proved wrong.”
Gulab Mehraj says when Shazia Marri did developmental work in the constituency and kept in constant contact with the people, the PPP got a foothold here. Now, the end of this constituency is a big blow for Shazia Marri and her party.
Shazia Marri is a resident of Berani, the main city of Jam Nawaz Ali Taluka. Her father, Atta Muhammad Marri, was a member of the Provincial Assembly and Deputy Speaker here, while her mother, Parveen Atta Marri, was also a member of the Assembly.
Former MNA Shazia Atta Marri tells Lok Sujag that eliminating one provincial and one national seat is an injustice to the people of Sanghar. “In other provinces, elections are restored on fewer votes, so why has this happened here? PPP will take legal action.”
By November 3, 20 applications containing objections had been filed in the ECP on behalf of citizens, candidates, and their supporters in the constituencies of Sanghar district.
Senator Quratulain Marri, sister of PPP leader Shazia Marri, is also among those who filed objections and have opposed reducing one national constituency in the Sanghar district. In the petition, it has been requested to maintain the three national constituencies, and alternative suggestions have also been given.
Apart from these, requests and suggestions have been given to form three national constituencies of Sanghar in the applications of Abdul Hakeem Rajar and Abdul Qadir Rajar. The rest of the objections have been filed regarding the formation and reshuffling of constituencies.
Senior journalist Wafa Raza says that the formation of a constituency of Sanghar and Khapro will cause many problems for the PPP, including the distribution of tickets. Meanwhile, the PMLF is getting the benefit of Hur votes.
“Punjabi communities living in this constituency have supported the PPP and the PML-F at various times. Urdu speakers in Sanghar, Sinjhoro, and Khapru cities are under the influence of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). In an alliance, the PML-F may benefit but also lose the PPP vote here.”
In the new constituencies, provincial and national seats have also been reduced in the Sanghar districts. Earlier, there were six provincial constituencies from PS-41 to PS-46. Now, the new five constituencies have serial numbers starting PS-40 to PS-44.
Earlier, each taluka (tehsil) was given a provincial seat here. But now, the population of Taluka Jam Nawaz Ali (formerly PS-42) has been divided into the local constituencies of Sinjhoro, Sanghar, and Tando Adam.
Addressing past oversights: Khushab sees boost with added provincial assembly seat
The provincial seat of Taluka Jam Nawaz Ali has been the legacy of the Jam dynasty. After the late Jam Sadiq Ali, his son Jam Mashooq Ali and then Jam Madad Ali were elected from here. When Jam Madad Ali joined the PPP, this constituency also belonged to the PPP.
Wafa Raza says the Taluka Jam Nawaz Ali merger with Sanghar (new PS-42) may harm the PML-F. The Nizamani, Rajar, and Juneju communities have always been with Hur Jamaat.
“But the voters of Chakkoke are divided. The Jam dynasty and Shazia Marri have a lot of influence in Taluka Jam Nawaz Ali. All the voters there have also joined this constituency. So, the PLM-F looks in trouble, having won here by a very narrow margin last time.”
PPP’s Sanghar District President Ali Hasan Hingorjo says that the abolition of the national and provincial seats of Sanghar is a loss to the people. They will fight the legal battle till the end to restore these constituencies.
PML-F leader Haji Khudabakhsh Dars says that the leadership will decide to accept or appeal to the new constituencies.
Published on 14 Nov 2023