The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday issued a list of candidates for by-elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to be held on August 22. The list includes both independents and members of political parties.
A whopping 103 people are contesting for five National Assembly seats while 37 others will stand for four provincial seats.
Of the 37 hopefuls, 11 candidates are contesting for PK-23, five for PK-27, 11 for PK-42, and 10 candidates for PK-70.
PK-23 fell vacant after former chief minister and Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ameer Haider Khan Hoti chose his National Assembly win over the provincial seat. On the other hand, the PK-27 seat belonged to Imran Mohmand, an independent candidate who was killed on June 17 in a suicide attack at a funeral in Shergrah which claimed 37 lives and injured over 40 other people.
On June 3, PK-42 also fell vacant when unidentified gunmen shot down Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Farid Khan in Hangu. Finally, PK-70, a seat won by former chief minister and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MNA Akram Durrani, is up for grabs after the MNA decided to relinquish his provincial seat in favour of the National Assembly one.
Meanwhile, nomination papers for one Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan candidate were rejected for PK-27.
PTI chief Imran Khan, who defeated former federal minister and ANP leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour by a huge margin, announced he would relinquish NA-1 Peshawar-I for NA-56 Rawalpindi. Twenty seven candidates are now contesting for this seat.
Twenty-four candidates are contesting for NA-13 Swabi-II and 17 for NA-25 DI Khan-cum-Tank. Documents of 21 candidates were accepted for NA-27 Lakki Marwat while 14 will contest for NA-5 Nowshera-I.
Chief Minister Pervez Khattak gave up his NA-5 seat while K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser relinquished NA-13 to stay in the provincial assembly. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who won from NA-24, NA-25 and NA-27, vacated the latter two.
Meanwhile, nomination papers for former minister Sitara Ayaz and Muhammad Kamal for NA-13 Swabi were rejected.
Appeals and alliances
Election tribunals will decide on appeals by July 29, after which a final list of candidates will be generated.
As with the general elections on May 11, political parties are forming alliances with each other in order to succeed at the polls. The ANP and JUI-F have formed an alliance with the latter supporting the former on NA-1, NA-5 and PK-23. On the other hand, the ANP will support the JUI-F on NA-13, NA-25, NA-27 and PK-70.
ANP leaders are also busy garnering support for Ghulam Ahmad Bilour on NA-1 from religious political parties. It is expected that neither the Pakistan Peoples Party nor the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will field candidates on this seat. Instead, both parties are likely to announce support for Bilour, who is said to have cordial relations with each party’s top leadership.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.