Monday March 04, 2024

Past associates contesting elections as rivals

This time, no political party seems to be in a position to win all the five slots

January 30, 2024
A shopkeeper arranges flags of political parties at his shop ahead of the upcoming general elections in Karachi, Pakistan, on January 3, 2024. — AFP
A shopkeeper arranges flags of political parties at his shop ahead of the upcoming general elections in Karachi, Pakistan, on January 3, 2024. — AFP

PESHAWAR: A number of those people who were associates in the 2018 elections are rivals in the upcoming polls after quitting previous parties in a bid to get better tickets.

Many seasoned politicians are currently in the run for slots in the national and provincial assembly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Besides, some new faces have also jumped into the arena to try their luck and make it to the Parliament.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had won all the five NA seats from Peshawar in the 2018 general elections.

Two of the five elected MNAs from Peshawar in 2018 switched parties before the February 8 elections while one is not contesting polls after quitting his party.

This time, no political party seems to be in a position to win all the five slots.

During the current polls, some of the former aides are flexing muscles against each other. A few are candidates on the ticket of the rival parties while others are contesting as independent aspirants to give a tough time to their past colleagues.

In the main Peshawar city, former federal minister and stalwart of the Awami National Party Ghulam Ahmad Bilour is facing independent candidate Asif Khan, who is a PTI nominee, Abidullah Yousafzai of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Hussain Madani of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF), Sher Rehman of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and Tariq Mateen of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in NA-32.

The PPP candidate from this constituency was city president of the ANP till recently but he quit the party just before the polls. He was allotted a ticket by the party for one of the 14 provincial assembly seats from Peshawar.

However, after the number of seats from Peshawar reduced from 14 to 13, the party announced fresh tickets for some areas in which Abid could not get back the ticket. He later joined PPP, and was allotted a ticket for the NA.

The PMLN candidate from this constituency Sher Rahman quit the ANP just before the polls. He was a candidate of the ANP for the slot of mayor Peshawar metropolitan in 2022 local government polls. He had secured around 50,000 votes but lost to mayor Zubair Ali of JUIF.

Ghulam Bilour has won this seat multiple times since 1988. He once defeated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto from this area, then called NA-1.

In the 2018 general elections, Shaukat Ali of PTI was elected MNA from this area after defeating Ghulam Bilour. Former prime minister Imran Khan had won the seat in by-elections in 2022 while Ghulam Bilour was runner-up. PTI this time fielded its former MPA Asif Khan after Shaukat Ali quit the party.

A number of other PTI workers are also contesting the polls from this constituency and other areas against their own candidates.

In NA-28 Peshawar-1, former speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Kiramatullah Chagharmati of PPP is contesting against former MNA Noor Alam Khan of JUIF, another former MNA Sajid Nawaz of PTI, former provincial minister Hafiz Hashmat of JI and Muhammad Fayyaz Khan of ANP.

In the 2018 elections, Noor Alam was elected MNA from this constituency on the ticket of PTI.

This time he is contesting the polls on the ticket of JUIF against his previous party and other political groups.

The PTI has allotted the ticket to Sajid Nawaz from this area this time. Sajid was elected MNA in 2013 but the PTI ignored him in 2018.

In NA-30 Peshawar, former MNA Nasir Musazai is a candidate of JUIF this time against his former colleague Shandana Gulzar who is a PTI nominee.

A new face, Arbab Zain Umar of ANP, Raees Khan of PMLN, Kashif Azam of JI and Misbahuddin of PPP are other contenders from the constituency.

Nasir was elected MNA from here on the ticket of PTI in 2018 polls. He had joined the PTI weeks before the polls and was allotted a ticket then. During the current elections, he is contesting against PTI and others to enter the parliament. The same is the case in a number of NA and PA constituencies in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Many have switched sides after they were refused tickets and now they are contesting the polls against their own parties of the past.