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National

August 6, 2015

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Tough competition expected between PML-N, PTI candidates

HARIPUR: A tough competition is expected between the candidates of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the National Assembly constituency NA-19 Haripur.
The leaders and workers of both the parties have stepped up activities to drum up support for their respective candidates running for the seat. A meeting of provincial chapter of PML-N was held in Islamabad on Tuesday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan, PML-N provincial chief Pir Sabir Shah, Amir Muqam, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, PML-N MPA from Haripur Raja Faisal Zaman, Senator Gen (Retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi, MNA Capt (r) Safdar, former MNAs Omar Ayub Khan, Sardar Mushtaq Khan, former provincial ministers Ayub Afridi, Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan and PML-N candidate for NA 19 Babar Nawaz Khan attended the meeting.
According to Ayub Afridi, the prime minister reviewed party position in Hazara and urged the leaders to utilise their energies for winning the seat. Likewise Chief Minister Pervez Khattak also held meeting with Haripur-based senior leaders of his party and stressed the need for accelerating efforts for ensuring the success of PTI candidate. The local chapters of both the parties have already stepped up electioneering in the constituency. There are nine candidates in the run.
Political observers said the real contest was between PML-N candidate Babar Nawaz Khan, son of former provincial minister late Akhtar Nawaz Khan of Khalabat Township, and PTI candidate Dr Raja Amir Zaman, a former district nazim and son of late parliamentarian Raja Sikandar Zaman.
Initially following the order of the Supreme Court for re-election on NA-19 the PML-N was facing hard time when former minister of state for finance and PML-N MNA Omar Ayub Khan refused to contest the by-election.
At district level the party faced differences over nomination of Babar Nawaz and one of

the disgruntled party workers Samiullah Khan filed nomination papers for the seat. Some PML-N leaders, who had soft corners and personal relations with PTI candidate Raja Amir Zaman, also exhibited a lukewarm response to the electioneering of Babar making the situation worrisome for a new entrant.
PML-N MPA Raja Faisal Zaman from PK 49, who is younger brother of Raja Amir Zaman, also secretly started convincing his supporters in favour of his brother. However, party central leadership intervened and asked them to support Babar.
Later, former PML-N MNA Sardar Mushtaq Khan, who joined PPP ahead of election 2013 as mark of protest, rejoined PML-N during a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad last week.
The prime minister asked the former MNA to convince his Gujjar tribe that is in majority in PK-49 to support Babar Nawaz against Raja Amir. Following direction from central leadership of the party, former speaker KP Assembly Maj (r) Habibullah Khan, former provincial minister Qazi Muhammad Asad, and Sardar Mushtaq have now started campaigning for Babar.

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