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July 20, 2018

PML-N, ANP and PTI in tight race for NA-9


July 20, 2018

PESHAWAR: A close contest among three parties on the sole National Assembly seat NA-9 (Buner) is predicted as the July 25 elections are drawing near.

Seven contenders, including an independent candidate, are vying for the seat. It was marked as NA-28 and renumbered as NA-9 after the fresh delimitation carried out as result of the sixth population and houses census of 2017.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has awarded the ticket on the seat to Kamran Khan, Awami National Party (ANP) has fielded Abdul Rauf Khan, former two-time MNA Sher Akbar Khan is contesting the election on the ticket of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and ex-MNA Istiqbal Khan is representing the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

Fanoos Gujjar is contesting the election from the platform of Awami Workers Party (AWP), Sar Mir Khan is the candidate of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) while a dissident PTI worker and former National Assembly candidate Mian Moinuddin is independent candidate.

The real contest on the seat is predicted between the PML-N, ANP and PTI.

ANP candidate Abdul Rauf is considered a strong candidate as the party has solid vote bank in the constituency and had won the seat several times as well.

Abdul Mateen Khan (late) had won the seat thrice in the past and his son Istiqbal Khan had also won the election on ANP ticket.

The late Mateen Khan was elected as independent MNA for the first time in the 1990 general elections. He later won the elections on the ANP ticket thrice in 1993, 1997 and 2008. His son retained the seat in the by-poll held in February 2009.

The PML-N candidate Imran Khan has emerged strong after the party made seat adjustment with the JI, which has a strong vote bank in the constituency and had won the seat several times in the past.

The two major political parties in the recently revived platform of religio-political parties, MMA, are supporting other candidates after they failed to field joint candidates on the sole national and three provincial assembly candidates in the district.

The JI is supporting PML-N on national seat and in return the latter is supporting the former on the three provincial assembly seats in the district.

The PTI candidate Sher Akbar Khan is also among the favourites on the seat but the locals believe that rifts in the party over award of party ticket to him and the decision of former PTI dissident candidate from the constituency Mian Moinuddin Khan to contest the election as independent would affect his votes in the election.

Mian Moinuddin had bagged over 23,000 votes in the 2013 general elections against the over 29,000 polled to Sher Akbar Khan.

The switching of loyalties by Sher Akbar Khan is also said to have affected his popularity as the local PTI leadership and supporters had opposed the award of ticket to him.

Sher Akbar was in the PPP and then joined the PML-N. Later, he quit the PML-N and returned to PPP and then went to Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao (PPP-S), now called Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), and elected as MNA in 2002. He then joined the JI and won the seat in the 2013 general elections, and now he joined the PTI and contesting the election on the party ticket.

A Buner-based journalist, Shaukat Buneri, said that the PML-N had an edge over other candidates as the JI was supporting the former on the seat.

He said the ANP could not be ignored as the party had won the seat in the past and had a vote bank.

The journalist said PTI youth were supporting their own candidate and he could spring a surprise.

The number of total voters in the constituency is 445,474, which include 250,303 male and 195,171 female votes.

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