PESHAWAR: A number of relatively new faces are expected to give a tough time to their experienced rivals in the five National Assembly constituencies in the provincial capital on July 25.
As many as 42 candidates are competing for the five constituencies of the National Assembly. The candidates are running spirited campaigns now that the polling day is only two weeks away.
In NA-31 Peshawar, former Town-1 nazim Shaukat Ali of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Mohammad Sadiqur Rehman Paracha of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) are challenging the veteran Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour.
The PTI and MMA candidates are contesting for the National Assembly seat for the first time against someone who since 1988 has contested for the Peshawar city constituency eight times and won on six occasions. Even after losing to Aftab Sherpao and Imran Khan, he managed to win back his seat in by-elections when the seat was vacated by Sherpao and the PTI chief.
Apart from the three, Irfanullah Shah of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mohammad Nadeem of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are the other prominent candidates in the constituency.
The NA-30 contest is primarily between the Arbabs. The PTI dropped its former Member National Assembly (MNA), Hamidul Haq, who was elected from NA-30 in the 2013 election, and has fielded Arbab Sher Ali.
Sher Ali is contesting the election for the Lower House of the Parliament for the first time.Sher Ali is facing former federal minister and PPP candidate Arbab Alamgir as well as Arbab Najibullah of the MMA.
Arbab Alamgir is the son of former chief minister Arbab Jehangir Khan. Arbab Najibullah contested the last election on the ticket of ANP. He later joined the PTI but recently announced joining MMA when PTI didn’t allot him the ticket.
Alamgir Khalil of the ANP and Junaid Khan of the PML-N are the other important candidates in the constituency. Alamgir Khalil was elected MPA on the ticket of ANP in 2008 election, but lost by a huge margin in 2013.
A relatively new face, Arbab Kamal Ahmad of the ANP is facing provincial president of the PML-N and former federal minister Amir Muqam and PTI candidate Nasir Musazai in NA-29.Arbab Kamal contested the last election on the ticket of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) but was defeated.
Nasir Musazai was secretary information in the Amir Muqam-led PML-N for many years before joining the PTI a couple of months back. He is now contesting against his former party leader Amir Muqam, who helped him with development projects of gas supply and electrification in his constituency during the NA-4 Peshawar by-election last year. The by-election was won by PTI’s Arbab Amir Ayub.
Nasir Musazai also remained a member of the Town-IV where Arbab Kamal was a naib nazim till May when he resigned to contest the polls.The PTI first allotted ticket of provincial assembly constituency, PK-79 to Nasir Musazai but later fielded him in NA-29 in place of former provincial minister Shah Farman after the workers demanded that Fazal Ilahi should be given the ticket for PK-79.
The MMA has fielded Naeem Jan and Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan has nominated Mohammad Shafiq from NA-29.Ten candidates, including two women, are flexing muscles against each other in NA-27.
Former MNA Asma Alamgir is a candidate of PPP and former Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sobia Shahid has been fielded by the PML-N in the constituency.They are facing Noor Alam Khan of PTI, Ghulam Ali of MMA, Tahir Nadeem of ANP, Amjad Ali of Qaumi Watan Party and four independent candidates, including a female candidate, Sidra.
Ghulam Ali served as district nazim Peshawar, remained senator and president of the Federation of All Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Noor Alam Khan was elected MNA from this constituency on the ticket of PPP. Later he quit PPP and joined the PTI.
The PTI leadership allotted him ticket for the National Assembly, ignoring Sajid Nawaz who was elected MNA from the erstwhile NA-3 in the 2013 polls. The ANP has fielded a new candidate Shafi Akbar against PTI’s Arbab Amir Ayub, MMA’s Sabir Hussain Awan, Intikhab Khan Chamkani of the PML-N, Ikramullah of Tehreek-e-Labbaik and independent candidate Daud Khan in NA-28.
Amir Ayub was elected MNA from the area in by-election last year after he quit ANP and joined PTI.He is the only PTI MNA from Peshawar who was lucky enough to have got the ticket again. MMA candidate Sabir Husain Awan is a former MNA who was elected in the 2002 general election.