Constituency profile: Abbottabad is up in the air

With multiple strong contenders backed by their clans, analysts say the outcome is unpredictable.

Muhammad Sadaqat April 26, 2013
With multiple strong contenders backed by their clans, analysts say the outcome is unpredictable.


The garrison town that attracted global attention on May 2, 2011, for the infamous raid that ended Osama bin Laden’s life, is once again in the spotlight. This time, the focus is on the upcoming polls, in which analysts predict a tough competition between the PTI, PML-N and Tehrik Suba Hazara candidates.

These political warriors are set to battle it out for the two National Assembly seats – NA 17 and NA 18 – in an area where the clan and connections are more important than political ideologies.

The great NA 17 showdown

A distinguishing factor of this electoral cycle is that former federal minister Amanullah Khan Jadoon, a senior politician who enjoys immense respect in the area, is out of the race, due to his deteriorating health.  Meanwhile, his arch rival, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N’s) Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi is vying to stage a second comeback.

And yet, even with Amanullah out of the picture, it will not be smooth sailing for Mehtab . He faces stiff competition from the PTI’s Dr Azhar Khan Jadoon.


Mehtab has other strikes against him, too

Although successful from 1990 to 1997, he was behind bars on charges related to the wheat scandal during the 2002 polls. He did win the seat in 2008, defeating Amanullah by a large margin, but his detractors today question his performance during the past five years, and during his stint as K-P chief minister from 1997 to 1999.

His inaccessibility to voters, the lack of development in his native area, and increased joblessness are other factors that work against him.

Although there are eleven candidates in the run for this semi urban constituency – including candidates from the influential Jadoon, Karlal, Abbasi, Tanoli and Awan clans – the real competition is expected to be between Dr Azhar and Mehtab.


Sardar Haider Zaman, chief of Tehrik Suba Hazara (TSH), was initially among the contenders but withdrew his candidature to focus on NA 18.

After Zaman’s withdrawal, the political balance has changed altogether. Although Sardar Fida Hussain is now the TSH candidate, Zaman’s supporters have jumped ship to Dr Azhar, who has also spearheaded the Hazara province movement from various platforms.  Tribal elders have been approached to use their influence to aid him in defeating Mehtab and a jirga was reportedly held at Amanullah’s residence to increase support for Azhar, a fellow Jadoon.

In this way, veteran Mehtab finds himself in even hotter waters, and PTI’s Dr Azhar may change the political landscape of Abbotabad. He is already confident of over 30,000 voters from his tribe, and if Amanullah lends his full support, this Jadoon may very well be unstoppable.

Previous Election Results


NA-17 (Abbottabad I)

Amanullah Khan Jadoon

Dr Azhar Khan Jadoon

NA-18 (Abbottabad II)

Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob

Murtaza Javed Abbasi


NA-17 (Abbottabad I)

Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi

Dr Muhammad Azhar Khan Jadoon

NA-18 (Abbottabad II)

Murtaza Javed Abbasi

Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob


Strong trio fights it out for NA 18

The importance of NA 18 should not be ignored. Area wise, it is a very large constituency, comprising Havelian, Lower Tanawal and parts of Galiyat Valley. It plays host to the Karlal, Abbasi, Tanolis, Jadoon, Gujjar and Awan clans.

This constituency was the stronghold of the Abbasis and the Karlals, who gifted the seat to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif twice, in 1993 and 1997. He, unfortunately, could not bring about the desired improvements to the general living standard.

Analysts say the real competition is between Sardar Haider Zaman of TSH, Sardar Yaqub Khan of PTI and Murtaza Javed Abbasi of PML-N. Seemingly, the three leaders currently enjoy equal weightage.

However, the TSH and PTI candidates may divide the vote bank of their Karlal tribe, whereas PML-N’s Murtaza could damage his voter base due to his performance.

With these three strong contenders in the ring, the outcome seems wildly unpredictable at the moment.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2013.


Danish Abbasi | 8 years ago | Reply

First of all I will appreciate the writer for a well written article.Now as I belong to NA-17 and well aware of current ongoing political situation of NA-17. This article was written before the official alliance of PTI candidate and PPP candidate Gulzar Abbasi whick took place on 26 April 2013 at birote. Now the competition is between #PMLN and #PTI #PPP #TSH.. the anti Mehtab alliance have no manifest or policy they shake hand with each other on just one point agenda which is #WishToDefeatMehtab. Public is well aware and they will not throw thenselve to the net of self interested alliance..PMLN once again iA will win this seat... 11May will be the day of Lion all over pakistan. In Sha Allah

Sardar Mohsin | 8 years ago | Reply

Read all the views and opinions regarding NA 17 constituency. I think we need to look at he facts and the figures from election 2002 Azhar Jadoon took 30,000 votes came second after Amanullah in 2008 even more votes 36,000 votes came second and don't forget both times he was an independent candidate. Now current situation if a person can get 36,000 votes without any party affiliation now he has got Imrank Kahn's backing. New registered votes are youths and youths will turn to IK. My town has more than 3 thousand votes and they are one tribe and all going to vote for Azhar Jadoon. He's more credible, honest and sincere person than back dated looter ludicrous Mehtab Abbasi. Challenge to every one who support Family limited Company i.e PMLN that future is for PTI.

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