Independent candidate Parveen Sheikh, who won the general seat of a councilor from Union Council Jilani of Khairpur district of Sindh, has gained full attention by defeating the candidate of Sindh ruling party Pakistan Peoples Party. In the first phase of local body elections in Sindh on Sunday, elections were held for the district, municipal, town, and union councils. The number of seats in these elections was 7164, out of which candidates won more than one thousand unopposed, while about 24 thousand candidates were in the fray for the remaining 6083 seats.
In this first phase of local body elections, the Pakistan People’s Party won the most seats, while women were not eligible to run in the general elections. However, some women contested as independents. Parveen Sheikh, a mother of six, comes from a low-income family. Her father used to drive a donkey cart. Nowadays, he sells children’s food items in the bazaar, while Parveen’s husband is a lower-level employee in a federal agency.
Parveen herself has studied up to the primary level but has been involved in charity work at the local level. Parveen Sheikh said when she saw the plight of the poor, she was saddened and wondered how to help them; then, she thought that only through politics could they be helped.
Parveen Sheikh has won the ward election from the Saleemabad area of Khairpur district with 430 votes, while her opponent could get only 190 votes. The Pakistan People’s Party and the Muslim League-Functional are present in Khairpur as major parties. Former Sindh Chief Ministers Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Syed Ghous Ali Shah also belong to the same district, while Syed Qaim Ali Shah’s daughter and current National Assembly member Nafisa Shah have been the district Nazim in the local government system of General Pervez Musharraf.
The area from which Parveen Sheikh won the election is a poor population in which men work hard while women clean palms in factories and homes. According to Parveen, there is no sewerage system in the area, and no electricity is available because poor people cannot pay their bills, so Hesco people do not install PMT while drinking water does not come, and people pay Rs 20 to 25 for a 15-liter bottle of water. There are many other issues as well.
Character assassination with the nomination
Parveen says that her character started declining since she submitted her nomination form. People started to say wrong things and used foul language. When we slept, they would come to the door and abuse us loudly, so much so that even the loudspeakers would say bad things. When I tried to use Pina Felix to appeal for votes, they didn’t allow me to do so or would take it off so that I could not run my campaign. I was told that you are a woman, what will you do with politics, sit at home.
She claims that from local politicians to officials, she was told to give up and was allegedly given money; when it did not work out, she was threatened, but she did not accept. According to Parveen Sheikh, she used to go from house to house for the campaign and ask people to vote. “People used to say that you are our neighbor, a child of the poor like us and our daughter. We will support you. We have voted for the elders many times, now we will vote for our poor.”
Parveen Sheikh says that in front of her, a PPP candidate whose election campaign was also being run by Nafisa Shah. “My husband did not go on the campaign while my brother and brother-in-law were upset, but when they saw that people liked and supported me, then their spirits soared.”No one in Parveen Sheikh’s family has ever participated in politics. She was crying over her victory, and she took control, but his father kept shedding tears.
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