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November 30, 2007

Electioneering gains momentum in Abbottabad


November 30, 2007

ABBOTTABAD: Political activities are gaining momentum in Abbottabad and its surroundings after filing of nomination papers and candidates have been approaching various political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for allotment of party tickets.

PML-N is yet to decide its candidate from National Assembly constituency NA-18 (Abbottabad-2) from where Murtaza Javed Abbasi, son of former MNA Javed Iqbal Abbasi (late), former MPA Khurshid Azam Khan and former district naib nazim Javed Abbasi, who is stated to be a close associate of PML-N leader Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan have filed their nomination papers and applied for the party ticket.

Murtaza Javed who lost 2002 general elections against PML-Q candidate Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob by some 4,000 votes has once again decided to contest from NA-18.

In 2002 general elections former deputy speaker National Assembly Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob clinched this seat by bagging 36,826 votes against his close rival Murtaza Javed Abbasi of PML-N who claimed 32,527 votes. If PML-N could not focus on a single unanimous candidate, they would face problems.

Chaudhry Faisal, coordinator of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from NA-18 is also contesting the election as independent candidate from this constituency. Although Chaudhry Faisal has not applied for any party’s ticket is still considered to be the strongest candidate and is capable to give hard time to any candidate. During 2002 general elections, he supported his brother-in-law Nawabzada Jehangir Saeed Tanoli who claimed 19,784 votes and finished third in the race.

Nawaz Sharif who won twice from this constituency in the 1990 and 1993 elections has always considered this constituency to be the favourite followed by late Javed Iqbal Abbasi in 1985 and 1990. In 1970, this constituency was bagged by Late Inayatur Rehman Abbasi. In 1977, Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan won this seat, while in 1988 Sardar Gul Khitab won the election

from this constituency.

Although 21 candidates have filed their nomination papers from NA-18 including Sardar Mushtaq of PPP, Qazi Muhammad Azhar of PPP (S), Syed Abdul Rahim Shah of JUI-F and a number of independent candidates, real battle would be amongst Murtaza Javed, Chaudhry Faisal and Sardar Yaqoob.

The situation in NA-17 Abbottabad-I may take an interesting and dramatic turn, if former petroleum minister and PML-Q candidate Amanullah Khan Jadoon decides not to contest the election at all. Sources claimed that Amanullah Jadoon, who had won the 2002 elections on PML-Q ticket from NA-17 with comfortable majority, has decided in principal not to contest the coming general elections from this seat, apparently owing to his health problem. These sources indicated that his youngest son, Ali Khan Jadoon has filed his nomination papers for NA-17 as covering candidate. Keeping in mind the old rivalry between Amanullah Khan and Sardar Mahtab this emerging development might sound music to Sardar Mehtab’s ears, who have opted to contest election by resigning from Senate seat.

Another candidate who would largely benefit from any such scenario is Dr Azhar Jadoon who is also a candidate from NA-17. Dr Azhar was the runner up candidate during 2002 general elections and had bagged 30,949 votes against 44,716 votes claimed by Amanullah Jadoon. He contested the elections as an independent candidate and with the full backing of PML-N and Sardar Mehtab. Since then he has cultivated considerable vote bank in the urban areas of the constituency as well as in the far eastern union councils of the constituency.

However, many observers believe that again the real contest would be between Sardar Mehtab and his archrival Amanullah Khan Jadoon or his son Ali with Dr Azhar Jadoon and JI candidate playing the role of spoiler, which would ultimately benefit Amanullah Khan’s camp.

An interesting situation has also emerged in the provincial assembly constituency PF-44 Abbottabad, where Inayatullah Khan Jadoon, son of former chief minister late Iqbal Khan Jadoon and Malik Abdul Farooq, son of former MNA Malik Abdul Rauf have filed their nomination papers and applied for PML-N ticket. In 2002 general elections, Inayatullah Khan contested the election on PML-N ticket and bagged 10,007 votes against the winning candidate Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani of PML-Q who bagged 13,663 votes. Former provincial minister Ali Afzal Khan Jadoon, another aspirant for PML-N ticket has already shown his anger and has decided not to contest the election. Malik Abdul Farooq, who is the business partner of Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan has been trying his best for party ticket while the PML-N workers are lobbying for Inayatullah Khan.

For this constituency 15 candidates have filed their nomination papers, amongst them beside Inayatullah Khan (PML-N), former provincial minister Shamroz Khan Jadoon (PPP), former MPA

Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani (PML-Q) and former district bar president Qazi Muhammad Arshad (Jamaat-e-Islami) are considered competitors.

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