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April 27, 2013

Candidates in tough competition for NA-47


April 27, 2013

PESHAWAR: The representatives of mainstream political parties and independents hailing from major tribes are in the run for National Assembly constituency NA-47 comprising six Frontier Regions (FRs).
The candidates are locked in a tough competition to run their election campaign in the remote areas. The unique constituency is spread over 650 kilometres sharing boundaries with six districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. It starts from Khairabad, Nizampur and touches Zhob in Balochistan and also the Taunsa Barrage.
The tribesmen wearing traditional turbans were seen distributing candidates’ photos, posters and flags among their supporters.The voters in NA-47 are scattered over the six Frontier Regions including FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Bannu, FR Lakki, FR Tank and FR Dera Ismail Khan.
The banners, flags and posters of candidates showed that the electorate in the FRs compared to the rest of the country is more active in electioneering. Many voters believe it was a competition among various major tribes instead of the political parties.
The major tribes including Afridis have 62,000 registered votes, FR Tank has 15,345 votes and FR Lakki comprising Bhittani tribe has 24,000 voters.The Wazirs in FR Bannu have 9,000 votes while Sheranies and Ustranies in FR Dera Ismail Khan have 15,000 and 3,000 votes, respectively.
Possessing varied identities, characteristic and nature, the tribes in 2002 had elected Dr Naseemur Afridi while former government official Zafar Baig Bhittani was the winner in 2008. The nominees of these two political families would also be facing each others in the coming elections.
According to the list, dozens of candidates are in the run from various FRs and tribes in NA-47. Former PPP provincial minister Sher Azam Wazir from FR Bannu is contesting election as independent candidate from NA-47.
The other candidates who are in the run for NA-47 include Mufti Abdul Shakoor Bhittani (JUI-F), Malik Baz Gul Afridi (PML-N),

Malik Shahi Khan Sherani (ANP), Qaiser Jamal (PTI) and Mohammad Rasool Afridi (JI).
The independent candidates include Ashfaq Ahmad, Ashfaq Bhittani, Inamur Rehman, Aimal Khan, Juma Khan, Rodyar Mohammad Bhittani, Abidur Rehman Afridi, Riffatullah Bhittani, Zaitullah, Saifur Rehman, Shahab Bhittani, Sher Azam, Zafar Baig Bhittani, Kamran Khan Bhittani, Kamal Khan Bhittani, Laiqzada Bhittani, Mohabbat Khan Sherani, Mohammad Iftikhar Zafar, Mohammad Sadiq Khan Sherani, Ghulam Ishaq, Faquirzada Mohammad. Nadir Shah Bhittani, Abdullah Nangial, Malik Bakhta Khan Bhittani, Malik Daud Khan Afridi, Malik Rozadin, Malik Mohammad Aslam Khan Bhittani, Malik Noor Zaman, Maulana Pir Khwaja Mohammad, Nabi Gul, Naseer Khan Bhittani and Naqeeb Khan.
The main contest in NA-47 is expected between the PML-N’s Baz Gul Afridi and Abidur Rehman Afridi, who is the cousin of the former MNA Dr Naseem Afridi. Abid, who was aspiring for the PTI ticket decided to contest the election as independent when the PTI allotted its ticket to Qaiser Jamal.
Baz Gul Afridi, elected from the constituency on the PML-N ticket in 1997, has his solid vote bank, but the presence of independent candidates in the race could split his votes.It is interesting to note that the independent contestants are avoiding mudslinging on each other as they are concentrating on future plans while the representatives of various political parties are defending policies of their respective parties.
Regarding elections campaign, Sehar Gul Bhittani, and Riaz Khan Bhittani carrying banners of Abidur Rehman said their candidate would legalize arms industry in Darra Adamkhel, promote arms export from the area, create jobs, improve roads and sanitation, provide gas, develop coal production and improve health and education system in the area. They said Wraspoon, Dhana and Tatta are three sub-tribes of the Bhittani clan. Among them, Wraspoon clan is supporting Abidur Rehman while members of Dhana sub-tribe has split and its members are backing Mufti Abdul Shakoor of JUI-F and others are with Ishfaq Bhittani and Zafar Baig.

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