DIR: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has been nearly wiped out in one of its last bastions in Upper Dir as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf recorded its first victory on the National Assembly seat and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) made a comeback in the provincial assembly seats.
The JI had won the lone National Assembly and all three provincial assembly seats from the district in the 2013 general elections but it miserably failed to retain them, except for one. A former provincial minister Inayatullah was the only JI candidate who won a provincial assembly seat of PK-12, though convincingly. It was also completely wiped out of Lower Dir, another of its stronghold.
The PTI’s new entrant, Sahibzada Sibghatullah, blindsided the experienced Sahibzada Tariqullah of JI and Najmuddin Khan of the PPP. Sibghatullah, son of a two-time JI MNA Sahibzada Fathullah and member of the influential Sahibzada family, had joined the PTI this year. He is the first cousin of the losing JI candidate Tariqullah.
The result on the National Assembly was disputed by the JI. On Thursday evening, supporters of Tariqullah and PPP’s supporters staged a protest demonstration outside the district returning officer’s office against the poll result.
They blocked the main Dir-Peshawar Road. His supporters claimed victory and expressed anger at the DRO’s failure to release official result after 24 hours of the end of the polling process.
On PK-12, Inayatullah obtained 27,413 votes to win the seats while PTI’s Naveed Anjum Khan came second in the run by securing 19,258. PPP’s Najmuddin, a former federal minister who has also lost on the National Assembly, bagged 18,267 votes. On PK-11, PPP’s Sahibzada Sanaullah won by getting 22,191 while the runner-up from JI, Azam Khan, obtained 17,544. The PTI’s candidate Malik Fakhar Hayat stood third by polling 15,534.
PPP’s Malik Badshah Saleh emerged triumphant on PK-10 by obtaining 20,945 while JI’s former MPA Muhammad Ali got 19,284. Saleh made a comeback in the election after losing in 2013.
The PTI had fielded a woman candidate from this conservative constituency. Hameeda Shahid secured 10,878 votes despite the fact that her own party’s Latif Khan got 4,809 votes as an independent. It proved a historic election for women voters who, without fear and intimidation, participated in the polling process after several decades.
They queued up for casting votes from Wednesday’s morning. Candidates were seen bringing women voters to the polling stations while men voluntarily and enthusiastically brought women family members to the polling stations.
Thanks to the Election Act 2017 that had made 10 per cent female voting mandatory. Fear of election being declared null and void forced political parties to allow women to vote. A total of 22,594 women polled votes in PK-10 out of 59,156 which is a very high ratio.
Similarly, in 21,372 women voters out of 61,552 have used their constitutional right in the PK-11 and in PK-12 women 23,777 in number polled votes out of 258,572. Due to a higher number of casting votes from women, the turnout was raised up to 45 to 50 per cent in the constituencies in Upper Dir for the first time in the history which had remained hardly to 25 to 30 per cent in the past elections.