PESHAWAR: As some political parties celebrate their electoral victory, several seasoned politicians suffered surprising setbacks on May 11 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
The Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan lost his NA-7 Charsadda seat to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) candidate Maulana Muhammad Gohar Shah, who won 53,492 votes.
Asfandyar slipped to third position despite Charsadda district’s reputation as an ANP stronghold.
The grandson of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, known to most as Bacha Khan, Asfandyar remained an MNA throughout the 1993, 1997 and 2008 governments. He was elected to the Senate in 2003 and was also the chairman of the National Assembly committee on foreign affairs in the previous government.
The defeat of ANP’s Ghulam Ahmad Bilour at the hands of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was another nasty shock to the party. Out of 387,083 registered voters in NA-1 Peshawar-I, 66,465 cast their ballot for Imran while Bilour received 19,324.
Bilour has been associated with the secular party since 1970 and has been elected four times as an MNA from NA-1. He remained a senator from 1994 to 1997 and was the federal minister for railways in the previous government.
Syed Zahir Ali Shah, a prominent name in the city, also lost his PK-2 seat to a PTI candidate – Shaukat Yousafzai who received 27,442 votes as opposed to Shah’s 11,489. Shah, a former provincial minister for health and one time president of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in K-P, was close to the late Benazir Bhutto.
Top PPP leader and former federal minister for communication, Arbab Alamgir Khalil, also lost his NA-2 Peshawar-II seat. A new PTI entrant Hamidul Haq won after receiving 41,361 votes followed by 22,733 votes for the ANP’s Arbab Najeebullah Khalil. Arbab Alamgir stood third with only 252 votes.
Alamgir stands in a long line of politicians. His wife Asma Arbab Alamgir was adviser to the former prime minister on states and frontier regions (SAFRON). His father, Arbab Jehangir Khalil, has held positions of chief minister (CM), leader of opposition in the K-P Assembly, as well as a federal minister’s post.
Former CM Akram Khan Durrani of the JUI-F defeated PPP provincial president Anwar Saifullah, in NA-26 Bannu.
Anwar was federal minister thrice and was also elected to the senate in 1990 and 1997. He became an MNA in 1988 and 1990 and remained federal minister under the premiership of Benazir Bhutto.
The falls from grace do not end with the PPP and the ANP.
The provincial leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Amir Muqam has lost his NA-30 Swat seat to PTI’s Saleem Rehman. Unofficial results show 95,803 votes were cast in Saleem’s favour and Muqam stood defeated with just 17,563.
Muqam was the provincial president of the PML-Q and a close associate of General (Retd) Pervez Musharaf. He joined the PML-N on March 28, 2012 and was MNA twice.
Saleem Saifullah of the PML-N lost his seat against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in NA-27 Lakki Marwat. Fazal Rehman polled at 26,982 while Saleem received 39,292 votes from 266,658 registered voters in the constituency.
A former MNA, Saleem is a prominent figure in Lakki Marwat and was the former provincial minister of industries.
PML-N provincial president Pir Sabir Shah was also unable to retain his PK-52 seat. He lost to PTI’s Faisal Khan. Sabir Shah was K-P CM from 1993 to 1994.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2013.