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Pro-Pervez CM in Sindh

Islamabad, Dec. 16 (PTI): A pro-Musharraf candidate was today elected as chief minister of Pakistan’s southern Sindh province in a controversial poll.

Ali Mohammad Mahar of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-QA) was declared elected by speaker Syed Muzaffar Shah of the 163-member Sindh Assembly.

Mahar bagged 89 votes votes while his opponent Nisar Khuro, the provincial leader of former Premier Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (ppp) got 73 votes.

Khuro termed the hand count as “fraud” and “fictitious”.

The PPP media office here alleged the election was conducted in such a hurry that the one who counted the hands of the elected members forgot to take the count of the Opposition members.

“While we believe that the 89 figure is fictitious, our candidate has got 73 votes,” PPP spokesman Faratullah Babar said here.

The PPP, which has emerged as the single largest party in the province winning 67 seats, contested for the chief minister’s post in alliance with the Muttahida Majlis-e Amal (MMA). The MMA has 10 seats in the Assembly.

The PPP also alleged that three of its elected members and one from the MMA were pressurised to vote for Mahar.

Mahar, whose party has only 12 seats, won with the support of several small parties, including few dissidents from the PPP.

Defection are currently valid as President Pervez Musharraf has kept the anti-defection law in abeyance.

The election for the chief minister of Sindh was held amid protests over the alleged detention of Yunus Khan, a member of a rival group of the Muthahida Quami Movement (MQM) who supported Khuro, on a murder charge.

The MQM, which has emerged as the second largest party securing 41 seats, supported Mahar.

With Mahar’s election, the pro-military PML (QA) has managed to install governments in Punjab and Sindh provinces and shares power with the MMA in Balauchistan.

The MMA has formed its own government in the North West Frontier Province.

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