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July 20, 2019

Election for KP Assembly : JUI-F, JI hopeful of winning seats in merged districts


July 20, 2019

PESHAWAR: At a time when money, family status and influence from the government are playing a key role in the first-ever election in the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the provincial assembly, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) are still hopeful of winning seats.

The voting for the 16 provincial assembly seats in the seven new districts and ex-Frontier Regions would take place today (Saturday). Almost all the political parties and a good number of independent candidates are contesting the election.

Jamaat-e-Islami has fielded candidates in 12 constituencies while on two seats it is supporting independent contestants. The JUI-F is contesting the election in all constituencies except PK-109 Kurram.

The two Islamic parties were part of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) in last year’s general election, but they have now parted company and are contesting separately and even competing with each other.

The JI candidates in Bajaur and Khyber districts are quite hopeful of winning seats while in the other districts they say their candidates would be in close contest with nominees of other parties.

Sirajuddin Khan, who is contesting from PK-102 Bajaur, is the strongest among the JI nominees. He has better chances of making it to the provincial assembly compared to other JI contestants. Apart from the party position in his constituency, his personal and family status would contribute to his chances.

Sirajuddin Khan is a landlord of Nawan Killay and is said to have gained popularity for doing public works from his own pocket and extending financial assistance to the needy people.

Maulana Waheed Gul, the district president of the JI, is trying his luck on PK-100 Bajaur 1. He is also running an effective election campaign.

He is expected to have a tough contest with Senator Abdur Rasheed of JUI-F, who, too, is hopeful of his success.

Gul Afzal Khan of the Awami National Party (ANP) and Israruddin Khan, the son of former MNA and Khan of Pashat, Shahabuddin Khan also are in a strong position. The latter is contesting the election on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket.

Anwar Zeb Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is enjoying the support of the ruling party but his relationship with the sitting MNA Guldad Khan is proving counterproductive for him as his candidature caused a split in the party. Sahibzada Haroonur Rasheed of the JI seems hopeful of his victory. However, he is facing a tough challenge from Nizamuddin Khan, another son of Shahabuddin Khan, as well as Ajmal Khan of the PTI and Ahmad Zeb Khan of the JUI-F.

In Mohmand district, the ANP candidates seem to have an edge. However, Mohammad Saeed of the JI is expected to compete well with his rivals in PK-104 Mohmand. Mohammad Arif of the JUI-F is also in the contest.

On PK-103 Mohmand, Haji Fazle Raziq of the JI and Gulab Noor of the JUI-F may offer some competition to the strongly placed Nisar Ahmad Mohmand of the ANP.

In the Khyber district, money is expected to play a key role once again as some wealthy families have fielded candidates in the contest.

However, Shah Jehan of the JI in PK-106-Khyber and Shah Faisal in PK-107 Khyber are also optimistic about their chances of success.

The JUI-F has fielded Ghufranullah and Shamsuddin in these two constituencies.

In PK-108 Kurram, the JI is supporting independent candidate Saleem Khan, who is considered the most popular among those contesting the election. Mohammad Riaz of JUI-F is also in the run in this constituency.

In PK-109 Kurram, JI has awarded ticket to a female candidate Malasa Bibi while the JUI-F has not fielded any candidate.

In PK-110 Orakzai, Amjad Nauman of JI and Qasim Gul of JUI-F are in the contest against some powerful independent and ruling party candidates.

In PK-111 North Waziristan, JI is supporting an independent candidate Asadullah Shah while JUI-F has fielded Samiuddin.

The JUI-Sami (JUI-S)’s candidate Maulana Abdul Hai has announced withdrawal in favour of PTI on this seat. In PK-112 North Waziristan, Rahmanullah Khan of JI and Siddiqullah of JUI-F are trying their luck. However, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has strong support in the constituency and whoever backed by it would have better chances of victory. In PK-113 South Waziristan, Hafiz Isamuddin of JUI-F and Samiullah Jan of JI and in PK-114 South Waziristan, Saifur Rahman of JI and Saleh Shah of JUI-F are contesting the polls.

The JI has not fielded any candidate in PK-115 Frontier Regions. Mohammad Shoaib is contesting the election on the JUI-F ticket from this seat.