PARACHINAR: Six candidates who submitted nomination papers to contest from NA-37 Kurram Agency have decided to launch a joint-election campaign and back one contender in the elections.
The decision was taken at a meeting at the Civil Stadium in Parachinar on Sunday. Independent candidates Ibrar Hussain, Haji Asghar Khan, Zahid Hussain, Rajab Ali along with Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Mumtaz Bhai and the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) candidate Saqlain Abbas agreed to choose one from amongst them to contest the polls and work for the betterment of the tribesmen.
The Awami National Party (ANP) candidate from NA-37, Doulat Hussain, also hinted he might join the ‘group of six’ to throw his support behind one lucky aspirant. However, Hussain is yet to take the final decision.
Addressing tribesmen at the gathering, the candidates maintained their motive behind running for elections is not their own benefit but rather the welfare of the area and the people.
The six of them will come together to work towards eliminating poverty, unemployment and to restore peace in the region.
They intend to inform their constituents on Friday, April 26 about the chosen contestant. This decision will take place after further deliberations, they added.
A total of 30 have submitted applications to contest elections from NA-37. These include candidates from the Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), ANP, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, APML, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other political parties.
While these 30 plan to fight for a large enough share from a 265,365-strong vote bank, there are two candidates who will provide tougher competition than others: JUI-F’s Munir Khan Orakzai and Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Haji Saleem Khan.
Orakzai, has been twice-elected as an MNA on the JUI-F ticket. With continued backing from the party, he has a strong chance of winning a third term.
Haji Saleem Khan on the Jamaat-e- Islami ticket also holds sway as his family has a history in politics. His father Haji Saleh Khan was an MNA in the 70s.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2013.