Politically fertile Mardan district is all set to witness a closely contested electoral battle between former Chief Minister Khyber Pakthunkhwa Haider Khan Hoti and Muhammad Atif Khan, a close aide of Imran Khan on NA-21 Mardan-II on July 25, 2018 General Elections.
Amir Haider Hoti made political debut from 2002 election from a provincial constituency but could not make it to the provincial legislature. However, in 2008 elections Amir Haider Khan Hoti managed to reach the office of Chief Minister by making a coalition Government with PPP and successfully ruled the province till 2013.
ANP stalwart and former Federal Communication Minister, Azam Khan Hoti after 2013 General Elections had maneuvered the political scenario developed in the province after the elections and brought youngest son, Amir Haider Hoti in the forefront of the politics and made him Chief Minister of the Province at the cost of very senior political and ANP loyalist, Bashir Ahmed Bilour who was assassinated in a bomb blast on December 2012 during an election meeting at historic Qisakhwani bazaar Peshawar.
Late Azam Khan at the time then, had threatened the ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan to ditch the party if his son Amir Haider Khan Hoti was not made leader of the House. This sudden summersault by late Azam Khan created ripples in the ranks of ANP and as such late Bashir Ahmed Bilour who was almost nominated parliamentary leader of ANP was made senior minister and Amir Hoti was elevated to the Chief Minister’s position.
In 2013, Haider Hoti, who had a five years Govt at his back, had a very narrow escape to secure his home constituency NA-21 (former NA-9) at the hands of PTI rooky Nasir Khan advocate. Amir Haider Khan Hoti secured 44769 votes against runner up PTI’s Nasir Khan advocate of PTI with 42068 votes.
Atif Khan, who was unknown to politics before 2013, had emerged as close aide of Imran Khan so much so the political pundits in the ranks of PTI were heard saying that Atif Khan may be tipped the Chief Minister KP if PTI wins 2018 election.
Atif Khan is a nephew of known industrialist and political figure of Mardan Haji Nasimur Rehman who has great influence in the constituency. Atif Khan had served as education minister in the just concluded PTI Govt and remained undisputed and impartial in the PTI rank.
Others main candidates in the constituency are Iftikhar Ahmed Farooq of Pakistan (PPP), Maulana Shujaul Mulak of JUI-F (MMA), Nawabzada Arsala Khan Hoti of PML-N, Mohammad Said, Mukhtyar, Syed Abid Ali Shah, Umar Masood-ur-Rehman, Abdul Salam and Syed Ikramullah Khan and they can surprise many.
The PMLN, PPP and MMA if join hands by making seat adjustment for NA 21 Mardan ahead of election can make an upset, political observer Misal Khan said. A visit to the constituency revealed that registration of 83,536 new voters in the constituency would play a decisive role in the overall results of NA-21 Mardan-II.
In 2002, the constituency had seen a dramatic result, which was beyond expectation of everyone who mattered as a very influential and billionaire Abbas Sarfraz Khan, nephew of late Chief Minister Mir Afzal Khan had lost to a cleric Maulana Shujaul Mulk of MMA with no financial background, in almost a one sided affairs.
Maulana had obtained 54479 votes whereas Abbas Sarfraz Khan secured just 15376 votes while the PPP’s candidate Murad Khan stood third by securing 5077 votes.
In 2008 elections, former Federal Minister Khwaja Muhammad Khan Hoti who fought election on ANP ticket had clinched victory after securing 31,075 votes and PPP candidate Khanzada Khan stood runner up with 24217 votes and JUI-F candidate Maulana Shujaul Mulak secured third position with 10625 votes.
Later, in 2012 by-elections ANP candidate Himayatullah Mayar won this seat after securing 30770 votes and JUI-F’s Maulana Shujaul Mulak who was supported by PTI, PML-N and other parties has gained 24621 votes stood runner up.