NA- 1 Peshawar-I constituency is one of the most important constituencies in the country with Imran Khan and Awami National Party (ANP) central leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour contesting against each other.
Other aspirants from the constituency include the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Zulfiqar Afghani, Shabir Ahmed Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Haji Afzal Pinyala of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Shah Nawaz Khan of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).
NA-1, a constituency historically dominated by a Hindko speaking population, has witnessed a change in demographics due to the urbanisation of the last 15 years. It has traditionally been a stronghold of the ANP and PPP, but this time the PTI may be a game-changer.
This constituency has been dominated by the politics of the Arbab family under the leadership of the late Arbab Muhammad Jehangir and Arbab Alamgir. After a period of losses between 1985 and 2002, the Arbab family emerged victorious in 2008 elections when Arbab Alamgir won from NA-2. Now, the PPP’s Alamgir will face Arbab Najibullah of the ANP, who was runner up in 2008. Both candidates have considerable political clout, promising a tough fight. Dr Iqbal Khalil of the JI, PTI’s Engineer Hamid Ul Haq, and Abdul Bari Khattak of the PML-N are also standing from the same seat.
In NA-3, Peshawar-III, Noor Alam Khan of the PPP, who won in 2008, will be challenged by Haji Ghulam Ali of the JUI-F, Arbab Inam of the ANP, Sajid Nawaz of the PTI and the PML-N’s Zafar Iqbal Jhagra.
In NA-4 Peshawar-IV, the ANP’s Arbab Ayub Jan is up against the PTI’s Gulzar Khan, a former bureaucrat. Other candidates include Sabir Hussain (JI) and Misbahuddin (PPP).
Asif Luqman Qazi is carrying on the political legacy of his late father and former JI chief, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, from NA-5 Nowshera. Qazi will face PPP stalwart Tariq Khattak, who won the 2008 elections.PTI’s Pervez Khattak and Daud Khattak of the ANP are the other candidates for the NA-5 seat.
In NA-7, Charsadda-I, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan is standing against Maulana Gohar Shah of the JUI-F while Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Sherpao is facing the ANP’s Taimur Khan in NA-8, Charsadda-II. Both Wali Khan and Sherpao stand a good chance of winning their respective seats.
The ANP’s Amir Haider Khan Hoti, former chief minister of K-P, PML-N’s Khwaja Muhammad Khan Hoti and PPP’s Shazia Aurangzeb are contesting from NA-9, Mardan. A close contest is expected between the ANP and PML-N in this constituency.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazalur Rahman and the PPP’s Waqar Ahmad are going head-to-head in NA-24, DI Khan. Ahmad has unofficially announced his support for the PML-N and ANP against the JUI-F chief.
PML-N central vice president Amir Muqam is facing strong rivals in NA-30, Swat, with ANP’s Khurshid Khan and PML-N’s Nairooz Mian in the race for the seat.
PML-N provincial president and former chief minister Sardar Mehtab and the PTI’s Dr Azhar Jadoon are contesting from NA-17, Abbottabad. Jadoon, a runner up in 2008, has the support of former federal minister Amanullah Jadoon and Baba Haider Zaman, chief of the Tehrik-e-Sooba Hazara. This will inevitably make things difficult for Mehtab.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2013.