PESHAWAR: Irfanullah Khan Durrani, cousin of late lawmaker Ziad Akram Durrani, is the only candidate left in the contest to be nominated by a political party for the by-election on the provincial assembly constituency PK-70, Bannu, scheduled for August 28.
He would be facing five independent candidates. The seat fell vacant after the death of Ziad Akram Durrani, the young son of former chief minister and opposition leader in Khyber Pakhunkhwa Assembly Mohammad Akram Khan Durrani, who had won the seat by a big margin in the 2008 general election.
The provincial election commission has issued the final list of candidates. Beside Irfanullah Khan Durrani of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, the other contestants are Malik Mohammad Ashfaq, Malik Saadullah Khan, Zafar Ali Khan, Sadiqur Rehman and Rehmatullah alias Kaka Jan.
Candidates of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party have already withdrawn their nomination papers in support of the JUI-F candidate. Former MPA and local JUI-F leader Hamid Shah claimed that their candidate would easily retain the seat as other contestants were not in a position even to win a lowly union council election.
He said Akram Durrani had won this seat several times and had done record development work there when he was the chief minister of the province. “Besides respect for the Durrani family, the local people also have sympathy with Ziad Akram Durrani who was known as a kind-hearted person,” former Bannu lawmaker Hamid Shah said.
However, a provincial JUI-F leader told this scribe that they respected all candidates in the run for the seat and would persuade them to retire from the contest in order to pave the way for the unopposed election of Irfan Durrani.
Ziad Akram Durrani was the 10th assembly member who died after winning seats in the 2008 general election. Except one, all the vacant seats have been won by the close relatives of the deceased lawmakers in the subsequent by-elections.