The district of Buner, situated in the Peshawar Valley, is inching towards a telling faceoff between the right and left wings on May 11. The only National Assembly constituency in the district, NA-28 has a soft spot for the left-wing with parties such as Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao) and the Awami National Party emerging victorious in earlier elections. Both parties boast a liberal, secular, and Pashtun nationalist mandate.
On the other hand, Jamaat-e-Islami has been the only conservative party to have a stronghold in this constituency since the 2002 elections.
Buner is famous for the shrine of saint Peer Baba, which is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year
In 2008, the constituency was won by independent candidate Abdul Mateen Khan who secured 21,801 votes. Barrister Gohar Ali Khan came second, securing 18,456 votes while Fanoos Gujjar of Pakistan Awami Party secured 13,396 votes.
The seat was left vacant when Advocate Abdul Mateen Khan died of cardiac arrest on October 29, 2008. After his death, the by-election for the seat was won by ANP’s Istiqbal Khan.
For 2013, Haji Sher Akbar of Jamaat-e-Islami, Haji Rauf of ANP, Mian Moinuddin Bacha of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Fanoos Gujjar of Awami Workers Party and Haleemur Rehman of Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl are the main contenders for NA-28. “There will be a very interesting and tough contest among candidates of ANP, QWP, JI, PTI and JUI-F, however ANP, QWP and JI are favorites in the forthcoming elections,” Saba Khan, a political analyst from Buner told The Express Tribune.
District Buner was part of the princely state Swat before 1969, and then a sub-division of district Swat. However, in 2000, Buner won the status of a district. It shares borders with Swat, Mardan, Swabi and Shangla districts. According to a 1998 census, its total population is 506,048.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2013.