PESHAWAR: Electioneering in Swabi is marked by alliances on one hand, and strong nationalistic politics spurring support for the Awami National Party (ANP), on the other. Swabi is one of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s central districts, and consists of two National Assembly and six provincial assembly seats. In the run up to the polls, a total of 204 candidates filed nomination papers to stand from the district.
However, as Election Day drew closer, 92 of these either withdrew their papers or were rejected by the Election Commission of Pakistan on various grounds. Now, a total 112 candidates — those standing as independents and those representing various political parties — are in the run to contest from Swabi. In 2008, the ANP proved itself to be a strong political force in Swabi by winning four provincial assembly seats and one National Assembly seat. As far as electoral partnerships are concerned, the Swabi Qaumi Mahaz (SQM), established by the late Dr Muhammad Salim Khan after he dissented from the ANP, has entered an alliance with the Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJI) founded by industrialist Liaqat Khan. The partnership has allowed both to become strong contenders in the district. The Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), meanwhile, has adjusted seats with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has made an alliance with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) and the Jamaat Ishaat Wa Tuheed Sunnah (JIWTS).
Sixteen candidates will be vying for this provincial assembly seat. A contest is expected between the ANP, AJI, PML-N and QWP. The PTI and PPP meanwhile do not have the vote bank to back their claim to the seat. The circumstances also offer favourable prospects for Irshad Khan, an independent, and Fayaz Ali Khan of the QWP who also enjoys the support of the JUI-F.
Interestingly, the ANP’s Gul Zameen Shah, the AJI’s Babar Khan Tarakai and the PML-N’s Dildar Khan are from the same village.
In this constituency, there is a contest between the ANP’s Amir Rehman, and the AJI’s Shehram Khan Tarakai. As in Swabi’s other constituencies, the PTI, PML-N, PPP and JI also have their candidates contesting for the seat.
Once again, the ANP and the AJI candidates are neck and neck. The ANP’s Rehman, who is the son of ANP district president Haji Rehmanullah, won this seat in the 2002 elections but was defeated in 2008 at the hands of Javed Khan Tarakai, Shehram Khan’s uncle.
Twelve candidates from different political parties are contesting PK-33, once a stronghold of the ANP.
The main contenders in this constituency are the ANP’s Muhammad Ashfaq Khan, AJI’s Muhammad Ali Khan, PML-N’s Darvesh Khan, QWP’s Suleman Wali, PPP’s Arsala Khan, PTI’s Zubair Ali, JI’s Mehmudul Hasan and JUI-F’s Maulana Saleh Muhammad.
Analysts claim although the AJI is the ANP’s main opponent, it will not be able to give the latter tough competition as the constituency has traditionally been an ANP-dominated region.
In PK-34, the ANP’s Amjad Ali Khan and QWP’s Abdul Karim Khan will put up a fight. The two candidates are once again facing each other in the polls, amid 10 other candidates standing for the seat.
In 2008, the seat was won by Sardar Ali Khan who defeated the QWP’s Abdul Karim Khan by securing 9,728 votes. Amjad Ali of the ANP was third in the race with a total of 7,415 votes. This time, the contest will be between the latter two as Sardar Ali is not contesting after a fake degree case was filed against him.
In this constituency, there are 12 candidates. The contest is between the PML-N’s Sajjad Khan, the PTI’s Asad Qaiser, and the ANP’s Muhammad Islam Khan. In 2008, the constituency was won by the ANP’s Sikandar Irfan Khan.
The district’s last constituency has 14 candidates hoping to win the seat.
The ANP’s Sarfaraz Khan, PTI’s Rangez Ahmed Khan, JI’s Saeed Zada, PML-N’s Muhammad Sheraz Khan and the JUI-F’s Sajjad Khan are the main candidates who will be testing their popularity in the region.
Sajjad Khan is the son of former MPA, Ghafoor Khan Jadoon, who won this seat thrice in the past. In 2008, the seat was won by ANP candidate Sarfaraz Khan Jadoon.
There are a total of 15 candidates jostling for this National Assembly seat. However, the real competition will inevitably be between the ANP and AJI. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) also have strong vote banks in this constituency. However, neither of these parties are major contenders. The ANP candidate for NA-12 is Haji Rehmanullah Khan, who has won this particular seat twice in the past. He will be facing Usman Khan Tarakai of the AJI.
Eighteen candidates from various political parties are contesting Swabi’s second National Assembly seat. An area with a strong ANP vote bank in the past, the situation now may be very different. This time the ANP has awarded a ticket to Muhammad Sarwar Khan, a retired banker from Marghuz village. The PTI on the other hand has fielded Asad Qaiser, the party’s provincial president who is also from the same village. Qaiser is a strong contender and may well force the ANP to fight harder for success this time round.
Although the AJI is the ANP’s main opponent for PK-33, it will not be able to give the latter tough competition as the constituency has traditionally been an ANP-dominated region
– An analyst
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2013.