• Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

ANP stands nowhere in Karachi local government polls

ANP Sindh President Shahi Syed. — PPI/File
ANP Sindh President Shahi Syed. — PPI/File
  • Future bleak for ANP Sindh.
  • Former workers blame Shahi Syed for party’s downfall.
  • Local body polls are scheduled on January 15.

The Awami National Party (ANP) was once considered a representative political party of the Pakhtun populace in Karachi. 

The second phase of the local government elections in Sindh is scheduled to be held on January 15 during which polling will be held in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.

Karachi is said to be the city with the largest Pakhtun population in the world.

However, with time, ANP has seemingly become irrelevant in the political landscape of the metropolis despite the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) losing its grip on its stronghold.

This is evident from the fact that in the upcoming local government elections, the ANP could field candidates only in four union committees (UCs) of the total 246 UCs in the seven districts and 25 towns of Karachi.

In the rest of the UCs, the party announced its support for even its rival parties such as Jamaat-e-Islami, MQM-P and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).

In return for the support, these parties have accommodated a few workers of the ANP in their panels, but these activists would not be contesting the elections on the electoral symbol of their party — lantern.

Even in Karachi District West where a large number of Pakhtuns are settled in localities such as Pathan Colony, Banaras, Zia Colony and Metroville, the ANP could field candidates only in three of the 33 UCs — UC 4, 6 and 7.

In the rest of the 30 UCs, the ANP is supporting other parties including the MQM-P and JI, its traditional rivals in the city.

Likewise, in Karachi’s District East where there are several Pakhtun-dominated areas such as Purani Sabzi Mandi, Shanti Nagar, Lasbela, Ayub Goth, Pehlwan Goth and Sohrab Goth, the party has withdrawn all its candidates in favour of the MQM-P, JI, JUI-F or the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

In District Central of the metropolis, only one candidate has been fielded by the ANP in alliance with the PPP.

The number of ANP’s contestants is said to be not more than five in District Malir, all of whom would contest the polls on the symbol of other political parties.

In District Keamari, the party has fielded a complete panel only in UC 8, but political analysts believe that the panel’s winning chances are not very high.

Another complete panel of the ANP in UC 10 of District South’s Saddar Town will be withdrawn in favour of the PPP.

‘One-man show in Sindh’

Talking about the political decline of the ANP in Karachi, a number of disgruntled party workers and leaders told The News that the current provincial leadership of the party was not willing to conduct intra-party elections.

They said that a significant number of workers who had demanded elections within the party were shown the door.

Consequently, seats of many local office-bearers have become vacant in the party and it has not been able to find workers willing to fill those seats.

Alamzeb Alai, a disgruntled ANP leader who was elected as a union council chairman in the last local government elections, told the publication that party’s Sindh president Shahi Syed, who is also the father-in-law of the party’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa president Aimal Wali Khan, had hijacked the party.

Alai said Syed had been ruling the party in Sindh for the last 21 years and he was still not willing to hold intra-party elections.

The estranged leader said that due to the one-man show, a majority of the ANP workers had left to join other parties or became apolitical.

He said that such a state of affairs was exploited by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and JI, and as a result, many former young workers of the ANP could be now found in their ranks.

Adnan Khan, who was once an active ANP worker in District East, said the provincial leadership of the party was completely disassociated. They were not in contact with the public and the organisational structure in District East had vanished, he lamented.

“Even, the leadership of the Karachi District East ANP chapter is stationed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda,” Adnan said.

Spokesperson denies allegations

Meanwhile, newly appointed ANP Sindh Spokesperson Advocate Bahre Kamal was of the view that the party in Sindh was joined by criminals who used its platform for their illegal activities and it besmirched the party.

He added that the situation prompted the provincial leadership to take corrective measures and it was decided to expel all such criminals from the party who were now calling themselves alienated workers.

Kamal said that the party’s organisation was present in all the seven districts of Karachi but he could not explain why the ANP had failed to field its panels even in the Pakhtun-dominated areas of the city.

The ANP Sindh spokesperson confirmed that some of the workers are unhappy with the party’s policies but they still supported the party.

He also conceded that the party had been making limited public contacts, due to which its popularity had decreased.

He explained that as the central leadership of the party decided to be part of the federal government, it had to compromise on the issues of the Pakhtun population in Sindh, due to which its supporters in the province were not happy.

Originally published in

The News

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