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July 24, 2018

MMA has winning prospects on over a dozen seats in KP


July 24, 2018

PESHAWAR: Having a solid vote bank in almost all the National Assembly constituencies of the province, the five-party religious alliance of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) is enjoying strong position on nearly 20 seats with winning prospects on over a dozen.

Right from the NA-1 Chitral up to NA-38 Dera Ismail Khan, the alliance has fielded candidates on every seat.

The leadership of the alliance is hopeful of winning a majority of the seats in the northern and southern districts of the province and also grabbing some in the central districts as well as Hazara division.

“We are sure of winning most of the seats in the northern and the southern districts. In the central districts, too, we have some very popular candidates who can carry the day on July 25,” said Abdul Wasi, the provincial secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and information secretary of the MMA.

In NA-1 Chitral, the MMA candidate Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, a former MNA, is confident he can make it to the National Assembly again. Though his position is good, he faces a tough challenge from Shahzada Iftikharuddin of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).

Iftikharuddin represented the district in the National Assembly from 2013-2018 and has done record development work, including getting the long-awaited Lowari Tunnel inaugurated.

On the three seats in Swat district, the MMA candidates are lagging behind in popularity in the presence of strong candidates of PML-N, Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

On NA-3 Swat-II, the MMA has already announced support to the PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif.

In Upper Dir, the strong candidate of the MMA and three-time former MNA Sahibzada Tariqullah is having an edge. However, it won’t be a smooth sailing for him as no one else but a JI dissident from his own family, Sahibzada Sibghatullah, has entered the field against him. The differences in the influential Sahibzada family would certainly benefit Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate and former federal minister, Najmuddin Khan.

In Lower Dir, another stronghold of JI, the MMA candidates on NA-6 and NA-7 are strong. However, they are facing close contest this time from the ANP and the PTI.

On NA-6, Maulana Asadullah, a former MNA, is expected to face a determined challenge from Zahid Khan of the ANP. Still Asadullah has a clear edge over his rivals. Ahmad Hassan Khan of PPP is also very much in the contest.

The JI’s central chief and MMA’s deputy head Sirajul Haq is contesting for the National Assembly from his native NA-7. He is popular enough to win the seat, but the increasing popularity of the PTI and its candidate Mohammad Bashir Khan has made the JI workers to double their struggle to muster maximum support for their leader.

On NA-8 Malakand, Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan, provincial president of the alliance, is pitted against the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Both the major parties of the MMA – JUI-F and JI – have a strong vote-bank in the constituency and together they can win the seat. However, the position of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Junaid Akbar of PTI is equally strong.

On NA-9 Buner, the MMA has issued the ticket to Istiqbal Khan. But the JI, a major component of the alliance, is supporting Kamran Khan of PML-N. This may benefit Sher Akbar Khan of the PTI, who recently joined the party after quitting JI, and Rauf Khan of the ANP.

On NA-12 Battagram, Maulana Mohammad Yousaf, former MNA of MMA, is involved in a tough contest with Mohammad Nawaz Khan of PTI.

On NA-14 Mansehra-Torghar, Mufti Kifayatullah of MMA, Zargul Khan of PTI and Sajjad Ahmad of PML-N, the younger brother of Captain Mohammad Safdar, are trying their luck. The latter is said to have a clear edge over the former two due to the sympathy factor after Safdar’s arrest.

On NA-18 Swabi, a former provincial education minister Maulana Fazle Ali Haqqani is contesting against former speaker Asad Qaiser and Mohammad Islam Khan of the ANP. The MMA supporters consider Fazle Ali a favourite to win this seat.

On NA 20 Mardan, former MNA Maulana Attaur Rahman of the MMA is contesting against Nawabzada Khawaja Mohammad Khan Hoti of PPP, Mujahid Khan of PTI and Gul Nawaz Khan of the ANP. Khawaja Mohammad Hoti is among the favourite to win the seat.

On NA 22 Mardan-III, the MMA candidate Maulana Mohammad Qasim is most likely to win the seat. Jamshed Khan of PML-N, Ali Mohammad Khan of PTI and Malik Aman Khan are also in the contest.

On NA-24 Charsadda-II, the MMA candidate Maulana Gohar Shah is pitted against the ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and Fazal Mohammad Khan of PTI in a close contest.

In Nowshera, Asif Luqman Qazi of the MMA is enjoying a stable position against his strong rival Dr Imran Khattak of the PTI and Jamal Khattak of the ANP.

In Peshawar, the MMA candidates are expected to figure in close contest on three out of the five total seats.

Haji Ghulam Ali is considered a strong candidate on NA-27 against Noor Alam Khan of the PTI and Asma Alamgir of PPP.

On NA 28, a straight contest is expected between Sabir Hussain Awan of the MMA and Arbab Amir Ayub of the PTI.

On NA 30, Arbab Najibullah of the MMA may have a close contest with Sher Ali Arbab of the PTI and former federal minister Arbab Alamgir of the PPP.

In the southern districts, which have been the stronghold of JUI-F, the MMA enjoys a strong position. On NA 32 Kohat, Seth Gohar Saifullah of the MMA, Shehryar Afridi of the PTI and Abbas Afridi of PML-N would have a close contest.

Attiqur Rahman of the MMA is considered a strong candidate on NA-33 Hangu. But the PTI’s Khial Zaman and Haider Ali Shah of the ANP are popular as well.

On NA-35, former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani is contesting the polls against PTI head Imran Khan. Durrani, who survived two attempts on his life in the current election campaign, is considered stronger than his rival.

In Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and his son Asad Mahmud are expecting a tough challenge from the PTI candidates.

Ali Amin Gandapur is contesting against Maulana Fazlur Rahman on NA-38 DI Khan and Habibullah Kundi against Asad Mahmud on NA-37. The MMA activists believe their nominees are likely to win these seats.

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