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July 15, 2018

NA-31 Peshawar contest : Yakatoot blast may fetch sympathy vote for ANP


July 15, 2018

Pakistani security officials gather at the site of a suicide bombing at an election rally in Peshawar on July 10, 2018.-AFP

PESHAWAR: After the tragic death of Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Haroon Bilour in a suicide attack, the sympathy vote for his elderly uncle Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has apparently pushed up his popularity graph.

Ghulam Bilour is contesting the election from NA-31 which was earlier called NA-1.

Haroon Bilour, who was candidate in the PK-78 constituency of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, was killed along with his 20 supporters in a suicide attack at a corner meeting in Yakatoot locality in the provincial capital on Tuesday.

The Election Commission of Pakistan postponed election on PK-78 that falls under NA-31 where Ghulam Bilour is facing a number of candidates.

Haroon Bilour is the second young and educated member of the Bilour family who was killed prior to the polling day.

In 1997, Ghulam Bilour lost his lone son Shabbir Bilour who was killed in a scuffle near a polling station.

Instead of losing heart, Ghulam Bilour had asked party workers to concentrate on the election.

That time it was the senior Bilour who had lost his young son and was consoling the infuriated party workers, but this time it was young Danyal Bilour, the son of Haroon Bilour, who calmed down the angry ANP workers by urging them to exercise restraint.

Danyal Bilour accompanied the ambulance carrying the body of his father.

Later talking to the media, he vowed to follow in the footprints of his father Haroon Bilour and grandfather Bashir Ahmad Bilour who was also martyred in a bomb blast.

The young Danyal Bilour said bomb blasts and threats could not deter them from serving the people.

The people belonging to all walks of life thronged the residence of Ghulam Bilour to offer him condolences on the martyrdom of Haroon Bilour. Ghulam Bilour also visited the families to offer his condolences on the death of their near and dear ones in the Yakatoot blast.

“The love and affection for the Bilour family has increased after the tragic death of Haroon Bilour,” an ANP worker Shahzad Khan claimed.

Out of the 13 candidates, tough competition is expected between Ghulam Bilour and Shaukat Ali of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The activists of these rival parties had been flexing muscle since long to win the seat.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has nominated Akhundzada Irfanullah Shah and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) allotted ticket to Mohammad Saddiqur Rehman Paracha.

The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) has fielded Aurangzeb Khan while Pasban Pakistan has nominated Gul Rehman for the contest.

Mohammad Nadeem is contesting election on the ticket of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Noor Hussain from the Aman Taraqqi Party.

The Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan has surprisingly nominated a woman candidate, Yasmeen.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan defeated Ghulam Bilour by a huge margin in the 2013 general election. However, Ghulam Bilour won the seat in the by-election when Imran Khan vacated it and nominated a weak candidate, Gul Badshah.

Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan of PML-Q was elected as MNA from this constituency in 1970 and Yousaf Khattak won it in the 1977 election.

In 1985, Mohammad Younas Elahi won it as an independent candidate.

Aftab Sherpao was elected from this constituency in 1988 by defeating Ghulam Bilour. The latter won it in the by-election when it was vacated by Aftab Sherpao. Ghulam Bilour and also won this seat in 1990.

Syed Zafar Ali Shah of PPP was elected from here in 1993 but Ghulam Bilour won it again in 1997.

MMA’s Shabbir Ahmad Khan was elected in 2002 from this constituency, but Ghulam Bilour won it back in 2008.

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