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PML-N backs PPP as PML-F withdraws candidate in PTI’s favour

For the upcoming by-election in Sindh Assembly constituency PS-88 in District Malir, two major competitors — the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf — have intensified their efforts to muster the support of other political parties.

The seat had fallen vacant due to the death of Pakistan Peoples Party MPA and provincial minister Ghulam Murtaza Baloch from the novel coronavirus infection in June last year.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has announced that the by-poll will be held on February 16. In the 2018 general election, the PPP’s Ghulam Murtaza Baloch had won the PS-88 by securing 22,561 votes against 16,386 of the runner-up, Captain (retd) Muhammad Rizwan Khan, who was the PTI candidate.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan candidate Rizwan Ahmed ranked third after bagging 7,694 votes, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s candidate, Syed Abul Hassan, was fourth on the list by securing 5,207 votes.

For the by-poll, the PPP has fielded Yousaf Baloch, son of the deceased MPA, while PTI has given its ticket to Jansher Junejo, a leader of the party. The constituency comprises a mix of rural and urban areas of the Malir district.

PMN-N to support PPP

On Wednesday, a PPP Sindh delegation, including president Nishar Khuhro and secretary-general Waqar Mehdi, met leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sindh at its provincial office to seek support in the PS-88 constituency and two other constituencies — PS-52 Umerkot and PS-43 Sanghar.

PML-N provincial president Shah Muhammad Shah, secretary-general and former federal finance minister Miftah Ismail, former governor Mohamamd Zubair and information secretary Khwaza Tariq Nazeer attended the meeting.

The PML-N leaders announced support for the PPP candidates in PS-88 and the other two constituencies in Umerkot and Sanghar. “The PPP candidates in the by-polls for the three Sindh Assembly seats will be considered the candidates of the Pakistan Democratic Movement,” announced the PML-N’s Shah.

On Saturday, after a PML-N meeting in Lahore, presided over by its vice-president, Maryam Nawaz, the party’s secretary-general, Ahsan Iqbal, had already announced that the party would not field candidates against the PPP in the by-elections for the Sindh Assembly seats.

PML-F backs PTI

On other hand, a PTI delegation, led by Haleem Adil Shaikh, the parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, and Khuram Sherzaman, Karachi president, met Pakistan Muslim League-Functional leaders to seek support for the PS-88 by-poll.

PML-F Sindh secretary-general Sardar Abdul Raheem and MPA Nusrat Saher Abbasi also attended the meeting. The PML-F announced withdrawal of Tariq Ali Sarki, its candidate from the PS-88, in favour of PTI candidate Jansher Junejo.

Rahim, while talking to the media after the meeting, said that it was high time all political parties fielded joint candidates against the PPP candidates to intensify their struggle to get rid of the province of corruption, nepotism and bad governance.

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