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National

July 14, 2018

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NA-46 Kurram contest: Ali Begum vows to promote peace & unity

PESHAWAR: Ali Begum, the first woman candidate in Kurram tribal district who is contesting the general election for NA-46 as an independent aspirant, is running her campaign like her male counterparts.

She is a former civil servant and had held high positions in the government. Often, she used to be the first female to hold a post on which she was appointed.

Ali Begum is contesting the election against 23 male candidates, including the former Member National Assembly (MNA) Sajid Hussain Turi of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Syed Iqbal Mian of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

In an interview with The News by phone, she said her election campaign was in full swing as she didn’t face any hurdle. However, she added that contesting election from her native area was a daunting challenge for a woman.

She maintained that most women in her constituency were not registered as voters as they did not have the computerised national identity cards. “This will greatly affect me,” she remarked.

The candidate wondered that women in the sub-continent got the right to vote in 1926, but majority of tribal women were not registered as voters. “Peace, unity and development are my election slogans,” said Ali Begum. She argued she was contesting the election to change the traditional way of politics that involved blaming others for one’s failures.

To a question about the blame-game among the candidates, she said she was trying to change this trend. “I will concentrate on health and education if I won,” she promised. “I am not blaming anyone for the lack of facilities to the tribal people. I am trying to change the trend of the blame-game,” she maintained.

Ali Begum, who has opened an election office in Parachinar, said she was going door-to-door along with a group of women supporters to seek votes. She said she was also holdings corner meetings at hujras, mosques and imambargah in her constituency.

Her electoral rivals, who are all men, include PPP’s Sajid Hussain Turi, PTI’s Syed Iqbal Mian, Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Pakistan’s Shabbir Hussain and the independent candidates Ibrar Hussain, Jamil Hussain, Hashmat Hussain, Zahid Hussain Turi, Syed Irshad Hussain Syed Munir Syed, Sher Hussain, Amir Abbas, Abdul Ghaffar, Inayat Hussain, Inayat Ali, Fazal Rabi, Muhammad Hussain Turi, Muhammad Shahzad, Muhammad Naseeb, Mehmood Ali Jan, Mushtaq Ali, Mumtaz Hussain, Mansab Ali and Waqar Ahmad. The first female candidate from the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) participated in the 2013 general election from Bajaur tribal district.

She was 38 years old Badam Zari, who contested for a National Assembly seat.

In the 2013 general election, Sajid Hussain Turi had won the Kurram seat as an independent. He had polled 30,524 votes and defeated a retired senior Pakistan Air Force officer Syed Qaiser Hussain, who was also an independent candidate.

Political observers believed that the main contest for NA-46 was between PPP’s Sajid Hussain Turi and PTI’s Syed Iqbal Mian. However, they maintained that Ali Begum would also get votes and may even give a tough time to the two candidates.

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