Most of successful independent candidates belong to resourceful familiesBy Khalid KheshgiPESHAWAR: Most of the independent candidates elected to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from tribal districts...
Most of successful independent candidates belong to resourceful families
By Khalid Kheshgi
PESHAWAR: Most of the independent candidates elected to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from tribal districts belong to influential and resourceful families whose close relatives remained members of parliament in the past.
According to unofficial results of the July 20 election in the merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six independent candidates made it to the provincial assembly. The younger son of former MNA Shahjee Gul Afridi and nephew of Senator Taj Mohammad, Bilawal Afridi secured 12,814 votes in PK-106, Khyber district against his close contestant Khan Shahid Afridi, an independent but dissident of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who got 697 votes. PTI candidate Amir Mohammad Khan Afridi obtained 5,930 ballots in the first-ever provincial election in Khyber.
Similarly, Shafiq Sher Afridi, a nephew of Senator Taj Mohammad Afridi and Shahjee Gul from the Alhajj group got elected to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in independent capacity form PK-105, Khyber, and secured 19733 votes against his close rival Shermat Khan Afridi’s 10,745, who was openly supported by Federal Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and Tauheedul Islam in Landikotal tehsil of Khyber.
The PTI candidate secured 2895 votes in this constituency. As the main rivals of the Alhajj group were Noorul Haq Qadri group in the elections, it is believed that independent MPAs-elect would prefer to sit on the opposition benches in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.
Another scion of the influential political family from the Mohmand district, Abbasur Rehman, was elected to the provincial assembly on PK-104, Mohmand, by securing 11,761 votes against his close opponent Mohammad Arif of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) who got 9,801 votes. Abbas is the younger brother of Bilalur Rehman who remained member of the National Assembly for two consecutive times from the former Mohmand Agency. He is the brother of Senator Hilalur Rehman and son of former parliamentarian Malik Shahzada Khan from Haleemzai tribe.
It is expected that Senator Hilalur Rehman’s brother would join the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Another independent from Orakzai district, Syed Ghazi Ghazan Jamal, is the youngest son of former MNA and federal minister Dr GG Jamal who defeated PTI candidate Shoaib Hassan by a big margin in PK-110, Orakzai.
He secured 18,448 votes in the constituency where votes are mostly cast on sectarian basis. Even the JUI-F candidate Qasim Gul had withdrawn from the contest to give a tough time to the PTI candidate from Shia sect. Another independent from the Khyber district, Mohammad Shafiq, defeated former federal minister Hameedullah Jan on PK-107, who also contested the election as an independent candidate.
Belonging to the Akakhel clan of Afridi tribe, Mohammad Shafiq is an industrialist and had also applied to PTI for the ticket but he contested the election as an independent when he was refused the party ticket. He secured 9,796 votes against his close rival Hameedullah Jan, who got 8,428 votes. The PTI candidate Mohammad Zubair got 6,575 ballots in the same constituency. An independent candidate from PK-112, North Waziristan, Amir Kalam won the seat.
According to the information provided by the Election Commission of Pakistan, there were a total of 285 candidates in the contest, including 202 independents, 16 from PTI, 15 from JUI-F, 14 from ANP, 13 each from PPP and JI, five from PML-N and three candidates from Qaumi Watan Party. According to unofficial results, PPP and PML-N did not secure even a single seat in the first-ever provincial assembly election in the tribal districts.