Constituency profile: Abbottabad is up in the air

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

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.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Jaffar Javed
    Apr 26, 2013 - 9:35AM

    PML(N) all the way. PML(N) will win with vast majority.


  • Amjid
    Apr 26, 2013 - 11:09AM

    It is PTI, who would snatch all seats


  • ali
    Apr 26, 2013 - 11:21AM

    NA-17 and NA-18 both for PTI! INSHALLAH!


  • Ammar
    Apr 26, 2013 - 11:37AM

    Ground reality is that PTI will ins ha Allah win NA-17 while NA-18 is either PTI or TSH.


  • Shaami
    Apr 26, 2013 - 11:56AM

    So the party whose Apparent Slogan is Naya Pakistan are playing the race card of Jadoons in Abbotabad to get votes. ???. PTI is playing the Pushtoon card and Race card in many parts of Pakistan and if someone thinks that they can bring change then they are wrong. I can give you a guarantee that PTI will transform into a New ANP as we all know that in the past people from all Ethnicities were in the alliance of ANP then Pustho speakers took over ANP and same will happen with PTI and i am sure the Red color in the flag of PTI and in the caps of PTI will increase overtime.


  • Shamila Sadaf
    Apr 26, 2013 - 12:08PM

    PML(N) seems to be much stronger as compared to other parties. PML(N) will defeat electoral alliance of PTI and PPP.


  • HazarayWal
    Apr 26, 2013 - 12:25PM

    PMLN have betrayed Hazara big time. It was the strong hold of PMLN for decades but they betrayed the trust of ppl by standing with PPP & ANP on the provincial name issue. Its not just the name, 5000 MW of electricity is generated from hazara for the nation and in return no development.


  • hazarawal
    Apr 26, 2013 - 12:35PM

    i am from NA-17 , and i am going to vote for PTI , PTI will win easily from NA-17 , on the other hand NA-18 is dominated by TSH (Tehreek-suba Hazara) Baba Haider Zaman , he will face a tough competition from NA-18 but his chances of winning are very clear !


  • Blithe
    Apr 26, 2013 - 1:29PM

    @Shamila Sadaf:

    Wasn’t it IK who actively supported name change to Pukhtookhwa.

    At least PML n resisted and made it KPK…


  • Tabassum Khalil
    Apr 26, 2013 - 2:40PM

    PML(N) will win both seats with vast majority.


  • Fawad Murtaza
    Apr 26, 2013 - 2:46PM

    Yes to PML-N.
    No to PTI.
    People of Abbottabad will vote for PML-N.


  • Muhammad Sarfraz Abbasi
    Apr 26, 2013 - 3:00PM

    Its is a very précised and well written article I must say. Being local of that area I can confirm factually this article is completely unbiased and well written based on grounds of solid evidences. It is unfortunate to see Sardar Mehtab Abbasi of PMLN who was been sent to the assemblies by the people of (NA17/ PK45) was enjoying a complete backing from the area of circle Bakote (90% Abbasi family). Circle Bakote is the large portion of total constituency (NA17). Unfortunately, after so much disappointments the Abbasi tribe who blames Sardar Mehtab of not doing anything for them “from heath to education” and “from development works to employment”. Sardar Mehtab remained almost failed in all the promises he made with the people before every election that is the key reason PMLN would lose the big amount of supporter in this constituency. Sardar Mehtab is also blamed for the nepotism as he always contests election from both NA 17 and PK45 seat and then he chose one for leaves another one for any of his family member. His cousin (brother in law and son Shamon) both have been enjoying a jolly ride of provincial assembly. On the other hand, Dr. Jadoon is well know personality of the area is enjoying supporter of all tribes and people of all ages.. He has broader chances..


  • Gul Muhammad
    Apr 26, 2013 - 3:00PM

    PML(N) will win in all the Hazara Belt of KPK.
    PTI will get defeat despite full support provided to PTI by PPP workers.


  • Faizan
    Apr 26, 2013 - 4:45PM

    @Gul Muhammad:
    “support provided to PTI by PPP workers”
    How will one prove this amazing piece of intellect?


  • Apr 26, 2013 - 4:54PM

    Abbotabad loves #PMLN n Mian Nawaz Sharif.

    PMLN will win all seats from Mansehra division InshaAllah.Recommend

  • Usman Ashraf
    Apr 26, 2013 - 6:12PM

    In my opinion there is a tough competition and there will be no walk over. I surprised on comment by “Shami”. As major established of PTI is from Punjab, then it becomes a Pushtoon Party. PTI is a national party is doing politics nationally. Don’t think so narrow to your constituency only.


  • Nasir Mahmood
    Apr 26, 2013 - 6:56PM

    Unrealistic report. ET wait for 11 May.


  • Peace Lover
    Apr 26, 2013 - 8:21PM

    No matter who wins, tribalism will continue to hold sway in Abbottabad. No such thing as “for the nation to live, the tribe must die.” Tribalism being parochial lacks fairness and objectivity.


  • Rana
    Apr 26, 2013 - 8:43PM

    PTI all the way InshaAllah, PTI will win both the constituencies.


  • Suhail Tareen
    Apr 26, 2013 - 8:44PM

    New registered votes (22587) and Amanulla’s (34947) votes will make a big difference in this election.Turn out was nearly 43 percent in 2008 if it goes to 50 percent this time (which will In Sha Allah) some 34071 more votes will be poled.In 2008 hazara was considered pure Muslim league area.But NS policy on KPK name conditions are gonna be different this time.PTI seems to be in leading position as ppl are not very happy with PMLN.
    SMAK’s repeatedly disappearances from constituency, after winning elections have made ppl against him and will lose lots of votes for his personal attitude towards his voters,Tahreeke hazara is going to gain.
    on the other hand PTI has more chances because firstly they never had a chance before and people are looking for a change.secondly Dr Azhar has support from people who think KPK name could have been avoided if Mahtab had played his role and Dr was a leading personality to oppose KPK name.


  • Eraj Khan
    Apr 29, 2013 - 3:07AM

    Both, Sardar Mehtab Abbassi and Murtaza Abbassi have started door-to-door campaign to bag votes, something which they never did before. It reflects upon the desperation and dire need of votes they are in, after being left in deep waters by PML-N’s role against Hazara as well as their poor performance in constituentcies.


  • Asjad
    Apr 29, 2013 - 8:54AM

    Seat Adjustment between the two tehrekhs expected?Recommend

  • Sardar Mohsin
    Apr 29, 2013 - 2:21PM

    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.


  • Danish Abbasi
    Apr 29, 2013 - 8:45PM

    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


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