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July 30, 2018
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JI leaders shell-shocked by poll defeat

National

July 30, 2018

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PESHAWAR: The Jamaat-e-Islami, a major component of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), has suffered the most in the general election as it could win only one seat each in the National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

The JI has been nearly wiped out even in its strongholds like Upper Dir, Lower Dir and Buner districts where the party leaders claim that all the seats have been forcibly snatched from them. Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali is the only candidate of the JI from the MMA platform who managed to win his National Assembly seat, NA-1 Chitral. He secured 48,616 votes against 38,481 polled by PTI's Abdul Latif.

Inayatullah Khan, a two-time former provincial minister, would be the lone member to represent the party in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. He won his seat PK-12 Upper Dir, his native town, with a margin of over 8,000 ballots. He secured 27,413 votes while his closest rival Naveed Anjum of PTI got 19,258 votes.

After the formation of MMA and just before the elections, the JI was quite confident of not only retaining its former seats but also increasing its strength in both the national and provincial assemblies. But the results of the elections were a big shock for the leaders as well as workers of the party.

They still cannot digest the loss of their strong candidates in the areas where they have very solid vote-bank.

The JI workers are still protesting in Upper Dir where they claim to have won the NA-5. They are alleging that the result was changed at the eleventh hour. From NA-5, Sahibzada Tariqullah of JI was contesting against his own nephew Sahibzada Sibghatullah from the platform of PTI and Najmuddin Khan of Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

The JI leaders and workers believe that their candidate had a lead of 2,000 votes against his rival, but the results were changed at the last moment. The party's request for recounting has been rejected.

On NA-7 Lower Dir, the JI chief Sirajul Haq lost to Mohammad Bashir Khan of PTI. The result was shocking for the JI voters and supporters. They say that their 'Ameer Sahib' was having a huge lead in the initial count but after 7 o'clock things changed drastically and he lost the seat.

The JI was not expecting to lose provincial assembly seats in Swat, Buner and the twin districts of Dir. They were also expecting to win more seats in the central districts of Peshawar valley. But all their hopes were badly shattered as their strong candidates like Mohammad Amin on PK-5 Swat, Mohammad Ali fielded on PK-10 Upper Dir, Shad Nawaz Khan on PK-13, Muzaffar Sayyid on PK-15, Aizazul Mulk Afkari on PK-16, Saeed Gul on PK-17, Dr Zakirullah, and Nasar Ali on PK-21 lost the race.

Fazle Rabbani, Mian Nadir Shah, Asif Luqman Qazi, Sabir Hussain Awan, Hafiz Hashmat Khan, Kashif Azam Chisti were other strong candidates of the party in the central districts of the province who were defeated.

The JI leaders like other opposition parties have rejected the elections. The JI is holding its central executive committee meeting to decide future line of action. It is also coordinating with the JUI-F and other religious parties to coordinate the MMA's future line of action.

Sources in the JI told The News that they may not become part of a possible countrywide movement against the elections. However, they said the JI would strongly protest the alleged rigging in their respective constituencies, the sources added.

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