KARACHI – Big guns in the province, dominating vital positions in different political parties, are contesting on national and provincial seats like previous elections.

Influential families, which have been dominating the country’s politics for a long period, are trying to keep their sway over particular constituencies. The families include Arbabs of Tharparkar, Shirazis of Thatta, Jatois and Syeds of Naushehro Feroze, Mahars of Ghotki and Shikarpur, Zardaris and Bhuttos of Larkana and Nawabshah, Jakhranis, Bijaranis and Mazaris of Jacobabad and Kashmore, Chandios and Magsis of Kambar-Shahdadkot, Pir and Syeds of Khairpur, Makhdooms of Matiari and Mirzas of Badin district.

Nevertheless, within some of these families is a division of political allegiance with one family member associated to one party, and other family member running campaign for another group.  Analysts say candidates and leaders of national and provincial stature are in line to enter into Parliament through election win next month.

A formal survey shows that Larkana, a home district of Bhutto family, will prove to be a battleground for the PPP and its opponents unlike previous elections in 2008.

In old Larkana (Larkana, Kambar and Shahdadkot) President Asif Ali Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur is contesting election on NA-207 for the national assembly. However, Ghinwa Bhutto, PPP-Shaheed Bhutto’s chairperson and widow of Shaheed Mir Murtaza Bhutto, and JUI-F Sindh secretary general Molana Khalid Mehmood Soomro, who is joint candidate of ten-party alliance, are in field against Zardari’s sister.

Sindh’s former law minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro has been elevated to next level for national assembly seat of NA-204, where he will face former senator Dr Safdar Abbasi, husband of Naheed Khan. Former nationalist leader and towering personality in provincial politics, Sardar Mumtaz Ali Khan Bhutto, who recently merged his Sindh National Front with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, is not contesting election. However he has fielded his son Amir Bux Bhutto on PS-37-Larkana-Ratedero against PPP’s Muhammad Ali Bhutto instead.

Former Sindh Assembly speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro is contesting election on PS-36, Larkana; Haji Altaf Unar, who remained provincial minister for many times and recently left the PML-Q and joined PPP, is vying for PS-37-Larkana-Dokri, while chief of Chandio tribe Sardar Khan Chandio will be fighting polls battle in PS-42 Kambar.

Former Sindh food minister Mir Nadir Magsi is out of poll race as his nomination papers have been rejected for his academic credential being unverified, but his elder brother Mir Amir Magsi will be covering for him for a national assembly constituency.

Pir, Syed and Wassan families are dominating in electoral politics in Khairpur district. Among the significant candidates in the district, former chief ministers - Qaim Ali Shah of the PPP, and PML-N Sindh President Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, facing each other on PS-29-Khairpur for provincial assembly seat for next elections, while PML-N provincial chief is also contesting for national assembly against PPP’s Syed Javed Shah Jillani.  Pir Saddurddin Shah alias Younas Saen, who is provincial chief of PML-F and younger brother of Pir Pagara Pir Sibgatullah Shah Rashdi is also in election race in Khairpur for a national assembly seat. Former home minister and PPP’s central executive committee member Manzoor Hussain Wassan is contesting election from PS-32-Khairpur, while his nephew Nawab Wasasn will be vying fir a national assembly seat.

Mahar group, which recently joined PPP, is dominating the politics of Ghotki district for a long period. The Mahar group has succeeded in acquiring PPP tickets for two provincial assembly and one national assembly seats in the district.  Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar is in for NA-201-Ghotki for a national assembly seat, while his younger brother Sardar Ali Nawaz Khan and younger Sardar Muhammad Bux Mahar is in election race on PS-6 and PS-8, respectively.

PPP’s central leader Khursheed Ahmed Shah and President Zardari’s close aide Senator Islamuddin Shaikh’s son Nouman Islam Shaikh are repeat contestants for a national assembly seat in Sukkur.

Durrani, Pathan, Mahar and Jatoi families are dominating the political battleground of Shikarupur district.

President Zardari’s close aide and former Sindh local government minister Agha Siraj Durrani is running for poll on a PPP ticket, former federal minister Ghaus Bux Mahar, who recently left PML-Q to join PML-F, is a joint candidate for a ten-party alliance for a national assembly seat of Shikarpur, besides Jatoi Sardars of the NPP.

The electoral test for Jacobabad and Kashmore districts will be under influence of Jakhranis, Bijaranis, Mazaris and Khosa families. Former MNA Aijaz Jakhrani, former federal minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, former federal minister Mir Saleem Jan Mazari’s nominee and Sardar Muqeem Khosa are significant candidates for national and provincial seats of Jacobabad.

Former Sindh chief minister Liaqat Jatoi, who was part of Musharraf- led PML-Q government and later joined PML-N, will be contesting on a national assembly seat, while his son Karim Jatoi and brother Sadaqt Jatoi are also in election race in Dadu district. Sindh’s former senior minister is currently out of election race, but his son Pur Mujibul Haq is contesting on a provincial seat for Dadu City.

Grandson of separatist natianalist leader GM Syed and chief of Sindh United Party, Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah is contesting election against influential tribal chief Malik Asad Sikandar on NA-231 Jamshoro, while former finance minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who is son of former chief minister late Syed Abdullah Shah, is out of election process.  MQM’s deputy convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, PPP’s central deputy information secretary Shajreel Inam Memon and nationalist leader Ayaz Latif Palijo are significant candidates from Hyderabad.

Matiari-Hala district is in dominancy of Makhdoom family since 70’s, where PPP parliamentarian chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim, his younger brother Makhdoom Rafique-uz-Zaman and son Makhdoom Jameel-uz-Zaman are important candidates of national and provincial tests.

Nawabshah district has been in electoral dominancy of Zardari and Syed families, where President Asif Ali Zardari’s elder sister Dr Azra Fazul Pechoho is contesting for a national assembly seat. However, except Nawabshah city seat, Syed and Dahri candidates are elect-able candidates for returning to constituencies of the district.

Besides vying for a national assembly seat of Khairpur, PML-F’s provincial chief Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi, younger brother of Pir Pagara, will be contesting for a national assembly from Sanghar district.

The electoral politics of Tharparkar district is under influence of Arbab family, where former Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim and his family members are in election race.

As an important aspect of election, PTI vice-chairman and chief of Gausia Jamaat, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, is in field for a national assembly seat of Nangarparkar-Tharparkar. It may be mentioned here that PML-F chief Pir Pagara has extended his party’s support for Qureshi.

The PPP and Arbab group is currently negotiating for seat adjustment of Thar constituency.

By quitting PPP one month after joining it, the Shirazi brothers have created a trouble for the former ruling party in Thatta district, however, former minister for culture, Ms Sassui Palijo on PS-87 and President Zardari’s foster brother Awais Muzaffar alias Tappi are likely to return.

Besides, speaker Dr Fahmida Mirza and her son Barrister Hasnain Mirza and their political opponents – Syed Ali Bux alias Pappu Shah and his wife Bibi Yasmeen Shah of PML-F – will be towering candidates for Badin district.

MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar, Khubakht Shujat, Nabil Gabool, Naimatullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami and others are contesting elections from Karachi.