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March 4, 2018
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Two Fata senators re-elected: Shamim Afridi, Mira Khan Afridi are newcomers

Peshawar

March 4, 2018

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PESHAWAR: Senator Hidayatullah and Senator Hilalur Rehman were re-elected as members of the Senate from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) while the other two seats were won by Shamim Afridi and Mirza Khan Afridi.

Shamim Afridi belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). His family lives in Kohat and is politically very influential. Its members have been contesting elections from both Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

One of his sons, Abbas Khan Afridi, was also a member of the Senate and served as a minister in the PML-N government. His other son, Amjad Afridi, was elected MPA from Kohat in 2008 and 2013 and remained minister in the governments of both the Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He later fell out with the PTI and was removed from the cabinet.

Mirza Khan Afridi was the surprise winner as Sajid Turi, the present MNA from Kurram Agency, was also a candidate for the Senate and was considered among the frontrunners. Sajid Turi didn’t want to contest for the National Assembly again and was seeking to become member of the Senate.

Senator Hidayatullah and Senator Hilalur Rehman were assured of victory as the former’s father and the latter’s brother are MNAs from Bajaur Agency and Mohmand Agency, respectively, and these votes were already in their pocket.

The candidature of the four winners was decided after long hours of consultations and jirgas. There were 24 candidates for the four seats of Senate from Fata, though most were inactive and had no chance of victory. The 11 MNAs from Fata had to elect the four members of the Senate, though it is unclear if all of them managed to cast their votes.

There were reports in the media that money had changed hands in the election of the four Senators from Fata. However, these reports could not be substantiated.

Four senators from Fata are set to retire on March 11. They are Senator Hidayatullah, Senator Hilalur Rehman, Senator Malik Najmul Hassan and JUI-F’s Senator Muhammad Saleh Shah. The first two have now been re-elected.

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