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June 16, 2019

Candidates make big promises as election campaign picks up in ex-Fata


June 16, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate for PK-115 Abidur Rehman has said he would provide natural gas and electricity to his constituency in Darra Adamkhel if he was elected.

He also promised to promote the traditional arms industry in Darra Adamkhel and provide health cards to his constituents. During a visit to his constituency that includes all the six Frontier Regions (FRs), he observed that the main demand of the voters was the supply of natural gas. He recalled that the gas pipeline had been laid in Darra Adamkhel 12 years back, but gas hasn’t been supplied yet. The constituency PK-115 covers FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Bannu, FR Lakki, FR Tank and FR D I Khan. The constituency is unique and the candidates have to travel and contact voters in an area spread over more than 300 kilometres because it starts from Attock from one side and touches Zhob in Balochistan and Taunsa in Punjab on the other.

An elder said the main Afridi sub-tribes including Bostikhel, Sherakai, Zarghunkhel and Akhorwal are living in Darra Adamkhel and Kohat while Ashokhel, Essakhel, Hassankhel, Janay Khwar, Bora Pastawana inhabited FR Peshawar.

He said other tribes living in the constituency include the Utmanzai and Ahmadzai Wazir, Bhittanis, Sheranis, etc. He added that Zafar Bhittani and Mufti Abdul Shakoor were the only two MNAs elected from this constituency who belonged to other tribes as the rest were all members of the Zarghunkhel Afridi tribe living in Darra Adamkhel.

The candidates and their supporters despite their enthusiasm pointed out that they would have to drive on dilapidated roads to contact the voters living in the far-flung hilly areas and passes. In terms of logistics, it is a big challenge,” one of the candidates remarked.

Abidur Rehman said he would try to bring back all the craftsmen who used to make weapons at Darra Adamkhel and provide them facilities so that they could revive the arms manufacturing.

Though the government has delayed holding of election from July 2 to July 20 in the erstwhile Fata, the major political parties and their candidates are already flexing muscles for the polls. The supporters of various parties including the main contenders from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) are busy hoisting and distributing flags of their respective parties to mobilize the voters. The local elders observed that though there were many candidates in the run from PK-115, the real contest would be between the nominees of PTI and JUI-F.

The PTI has awarded ticket to Abidur Rehman, who is the son of prominent tribal businessman Haji Gul Rehman. The JUI-F gave its ticket to Shoaib Khan, the grandson of known tribal elder Haji Noor Sher. Both the candidates belong to the Zarghunkhel Afridi tribe in Darra Adamkhel.

The Zarghunkhel tribe is politically and financially strong and its members have been winning elections from this constituency. An elder, Fazal Afridi recalled that most of the former MNAs including Haji Noor Sher Afridi, Haji Baz Gul Afridi, Dr Naseem Afridi, Malik Aslam Afridi, late Momin Khan Afridi and Qaiser Jamal Afridi belonged to the Zarghunkhel Afridi tribe.

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