PESHAWAR: Some of the biggest names in the country’s politics, who were considered by some to be even too big to fail, have been thrown out of the political arena in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) with the PTI sweeping large swathes of the province.
Among the big names who failed include Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazalur Rahman.
Once the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly in the aftermath of the October 2002 general elections, unofficial results show that he is not close to winning any seat in the province — either in the national or the provincial assemblies.
Rehman, who had sought to launch the political career of his son, Asad Mehmood, by handing him a ticket from the ‘safe’ constituency of NA-37 Tank. Rehman opted to contest against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ali Amin Gandapur in Dera Ismail Khan.
While Rehman’s son was reported to have won his seat with official results yet to come through, Rehman lost his battle with Gandapur. The former only secured 45,457 votes while the PTI lawmaker secured a whopping 80,236 votes.
Another stalwart of JUI-F, former K-P chief minister Akram Khan Durrani was considered to be a ‘shoo-in’ candidate. Durrani had also survived two assassination attempts in the run-up to the elections. Popular amongst the people of Bannu for the development work undertaken in the area, barely scraped in, securing 32,801 votes compared to his nearest competitor, PTI’s Haji Malik Adnan who secured 32,628 votes.
Towards the Awami National Party (ANP), its party stalwart Sardar Hussain of managed to retain his provincial assembly seat for a third consecutive term.
However, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali failed to attract voters for a second as he lost in NA-24 Charsadda-II. Wali could only secure 59,483 votes but his competitor, PTI’s Fazal Khan got 83,495 votes.
Other key ANP leaders who were defeated include party stalwart Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and Mian Iftikhar Hussain.
Bilour only secured 43,476 votes to PTI’s Shaukat Ali who had 87,895 votes to clinch NA-31.
Hussain could only manage a paltry 3,220 votes to the eventual winner, MMA’s Shah Dad Khan in PK-81 Kohat-II.
The unofficial results showed that ANP’s former chief minister Amir Haider Hoti had once again narrowly escaped failure in Mardan.
The ANP leaders, except Bilour, also believed that the election process was rigged and have called a party meeting at Wali Bagh Charsadda, to decide the future course of action.
Another nationalist leader and former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, head of the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), was unable to secure his home constituency.
Sikandar Sherpao, a former senior K-P senior minister, also failed to secure the victory. After a number of its senior leaders have left the party, the QWP contestants failed to win any seat.
Senator Sirajul Haq, who is leading the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), lost in his home constituency of Lower Dir-II to Muhammad Bashir of PTI.
Like Siraj, the former K-P finance Minister Muzaffar Said and its popular figure Sahibzada Tariqullah have also failed.
The JI was the partner of the PTI in the past government but only former senior minister Inayat Ullah managed to retain his seat with a win from PK-12 Upper Dir.
Like others, JI has also called the party meeting in Mansoora and criticized the ECP for its alleged failure to hold fair and free elections.
Some other big names who contested the elections from K-P and lost are Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from NA-8 Malakand, the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) provincial head Humayun Khan also failed to secure a seat.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) provincial president Amir Muqam and party president Shahbaz Sharif (contesting from NA-3 Swat-III) failed to secure enough votes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2018.