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Unpredictable, tough fight expected in PK-67


July 20, 2018

PESHAWAR: The July 25 general election is fast approaching and the contestants running for provincial assembly constituency PK-67 have stepped up their campaign, but the position of major political parties’ candidates is still unpredictable.

The PK-67 is new constituency in a sense that it has been made of the areas severed from the old provincial assembly constituencies PK-7 and PK-8. The mainstream political parties have fielded candidates in the constituency.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), little-known Tehrik-e-Jawanan Pakistan (TJP) of Abdullah Gul (late Gen Hamid Gul’s son)’s candidates along with eight other as independent and a PTI dissident are running for the provincial assembly seat.

However, the real and nip and tuck contest is expected among the candidates of the PTI, MMA and PPP. The race among them as generally expected would be a close contest which would induce much suspense right to its outcome.

Asif Iqbal Daudzai of the MMA, Razaullah Khan of PPP and Arbab Waseem Hayat of the PTI are high-flying contenders in the constituency.

Other candidates include Malik Naseem Khan of ANP, Fazlullah of PML-N, Aurangzeb Khan of TJP, Muhammad Shafi of QWP, and independents Insaf Khan, Saleem Khan, Syed Abdul Wahab, Liaquat Ali Khan, Muhammad Asghar Khan, Muhammad Alam, Noor Akbar Khan and Shehzad Khan.

The family of Fazlullah had been affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami for decades, but he joined the PML-N days before the election schedule was announced when the MMA fielded Asif Iqbal as its candidate in the constituency.

Shehzad Khan, who is a young PTI worker and former member district council, decided to contest the election as independent after the PTI awarded ticket to Waseem Hayat, who quit PML-N to join PTI.

Shehzad was allotted the symbol of “jeep”.

Waseem Hayat is the nephew and son-in-law of late Arbab Akbar Hayat, who had won from the constituency in 2013 election as a sole PML-N member from Peshawar.

After the untimely death of his paternal uncle on March 16, 2017, Waseem contested the by-polls and won.

Asif Iqbal won the 2002 general election on MMA ticket and served as provincial minister for information.

In both 2008 and 2013, he contested election on the ticket of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), but lost on both occasions.

The candidates are blaming one another for resorting to unfair means to make the electorate vote for them. The allegations include development work and even purchase of vote.

It has been observed that the recent delimitation has put some candidates at a disadvantage as they have lost their strongholds while it benefited some contestants.

The new election scenario that include delimitation and revival of the MMA has put Asif Iqbal in a comfortable position as the areas where he used to win in the past have now been included in the constituency. However, Waseem Hayat is still seen a formidable threat to his rivals.

Razaullah Khan, former naib nazim of the city district council and brother of former speaker provincial assembly, Kiramatullah Khan, is a perfect dark horse in the constituency as his family and personal influence is overwhelming in the area.

Asif Iqbal alleged that his rivals were carrying out development schemes in the constituency and providing electricity transformers and poles to buy the loyalties of the electorate.

However, Noor Alam Khan of PTI rejected the allegation and said they had nothing to do with the ongoing Annual Development Programme schemes.

A banker wishing anonymity accused MMA candidate for NA-27 Ghulam Ali of buying votes in the PK-67 that is part of National Assembly constituency. However, Asif Iqbal rejected the allegation as “rubbish.”

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