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February 7, 2011

Electioneering in full swing for Tank by-polls


February 7, 2011

TANK: Electioneering for the by-polls in PK-69 (Tank) to be held on February 29 has gained momentum and the 31 candidates, including a female, were making efforts to woo the voters.
According to observers, tough contest is expected between Dawar Khan Kundi of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Habibullah Kundi, an independent. A survey of the constituency revealed that the PPP candidate is under pressure as besides his main opponent Habibullah Kundi alias Babu Khan, Abdul Qadir Khan Bhittani of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), the brother of late MPA Gulistan Bittani, is also a strong candidate.
The seat fell vacant after disqualification of JUI-F MPA Gulistan Bhittani by the Supreme Court in a fake degree case. Habibullah Kundi, a former provincial minister, earlier got the party ticket by joining the ruling Awami National Party. But he is now contesting as an independent candidate because of the seat adjustment made by the ruling parties, ANP and PPP, in Tank and Shangla by-polls.
It, however, seems that the agreement is not being adhered to. The PPP leaders claim they fully supported ANP nominee in Shangla and now expect the ANP to support their candidate Dawar Khan Kundi in Tank.
Some people believe withdrawal of ANP ticket is no more beneficial for PPP because Habibullah Kundi is not ready to withdraw his candidature and is determined to contest as independent. ANP leader and minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain had reportedly said that his party would support the PPP candidate in Tank because the PPP had withdrawn its nominee Dr Afsarul Mulk in favour of Mohammad Yar Khan of the ANP in the Shangla by-election
Dawar Kundi is the son of another former provincial minister, Amanullah Kundi. In the 2008 general elections, he contested for the National Assembly seat from NA-25 constituency but was defeated by Maulana Attaur Rehman of the JUI-F.
People in the area mostly vote on the basis of clan. Habibullah Kundi and Dawar Kundi both

claim to have the support of the Kundi tribes. The JUI-F candidate belongs to the Bhittani tribe and would have a chance of success if the Kundi votes were divided. The other candidates in the election race include Sheikh Ehsanullah and Mrs Rahat Afshan, both independents, and Sajjad Ahmad Marwat of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Canvassing and corner meetings are in full swing in the Tank district where there are 74,800 male and 50,214 female voters.

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