By-election NA-4; PTI in hot water

PESHAWAR: Electoral battle has started heating up in NA-4 Peshawar-IV constituency where PTI was facing a tough task to save its seat fallen vacant after the death of former bureaucrat MNA Gulzar Khan.

All the major political parties have fielded strong candidates to secure this key seat.

The PML-N and ANP were posing serious challenge to PTI and forced PTI leadership and workers to start door to door and corner meetings to persuade voters.

Political observers said NA-4 by-election would prove a tough competition for PTI as JUI-F and Qumi Watan Party have withdrawn their candidates in favor of PML-N and three parties alliance of PML-N, JUI-F, QWP with huge votes bank in NA-4 was posing serious challenge to ruling PTI.

The position of PML-N candidate Nasir Muszai, according to political pundits, has become stronger after the support of Aftab Sherpao and Maulana Fazlur Rehman to the PML-N in the constituency.

The tri-parties alliance has made the PTI leaders restless and made them understand that it would not be an easy sailing now for the PTI to regain the seat.

The observers believed the political situation on ground was totally different today than that of 2013 when PTI tsunami swept Peshawar district coming four NA seats and 10 PA out of 11.

Now, the PTI has over four years government and its performance at its credit which the mostly people believed was not up-to the mark to elect the PTI nominee in the by-election.

Moreover, Jumaat-e-Islami that was enjoying coalition government with PTI in KP has again fielded its own candidate in NA-4 and the division of votes between the coalition partners in KP would certainly benefit the rivals. Those having support of strong Baradari would also get advantage in NA-4 balloting.

The NA-4 was comprised Chamkani, Hazarkhwani, Urmar, Pandu, Baghwana, Mathani, Tarnab, Badabair and Mathani where people are mostly associated with agriculture, bricks industries, government jobs and oversees employment.

ANP stalwart and central secretary general ANP Mian Iftikhar told that ANP has major vote bank in the constituency and was all set to win this seat for the fifth time.

The ANP will make its position strong in the upcoming bye election by securing record votes. “The NA-4 voters will take revenge from the ruling alliance from October 26”, he added.

PML-N Nasir Khan Musai said, PML-N had made record development works in

the constituency and will win election on the basis of its performance.

He accused the PTI for massively using the government machinery in NA-4 elections and held it a pr-polling rigging on the part of KP Government and demanded ECP to take notice of it.

“The constituency has a lot of problems like poor roads conditions, lack of educational and health institutes, scarcity of clean drinking water, solid waste management system, unemployment, poor access roads from agriculture fields to markets, poverty and no solid measures were taken for addressing these issues during last four and a half year,” Noorul Amin, resident of Chamkani Peshawar told reporter.

“The people voted PTI in the name of change but were now feeling disappointed as no positive and visible change in the constituency has been witnessed during last four years.”

He said PTI leadership has wasted time in agitation and sit in rather than focusing on resolution of these key issues faced by people of NA-4. “The people of NA-4 were now looking for a real change as they wanted immediate resolution of their problems,” he said.

On the other hands, he said PML-N Provincial President and PM Advisor Engr Amir Muqam have made record development works in the constituency and provided gas facility to Urmar Mayan, Urmar Payan and Urmar Miayana and completed a number of electricity projects in the constituency.

To address the long awaited low gas voltage problems, he said a separate feeder for Pandu and Surizai areas were provided besides approving of gas facility for the villages of Kohtian, Saidan and other adjoining areas by PML-N.

The PML-N has awarded ticket to provincial information secretary, Nasir Khan Mosazai who stood runner-up in 2013 general elections after securing 20,412 votes against PTI’s Gulazar Khan who comfortably won it with 55134 votes.

Whereas PTI has fielded former Nazim-Town-IV Arbab Amir Ayub, ANP awarded ticket to former deputy Speaker KP Assembly Khushdil Khan advocate, PPP’s awarded ticket to late MNA Gulazar’s son Asad Gulzar and relatively new comer Farooq Wasil will try his luck on Jumaat e Islami ticket.

In 2002 elections, this constituency was easily won by JI’s Sabir Hussain Awan who defeated ANP’s Arbab Mohammad Zahir in a ‘religious clean sweep’ of MMA in the province. It was Zahir’s first defeat following the delimitation in 2002.

However, the JI boycotted the 2008 general elections and Arbab Zahir again stage a comeback to the national assembly on ANP tickett while Engr Amir Muqam stood runner up.

NA-4 lies in the south of the provincial capital along Kohat and Bara roads sharing a border with Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency, Frontier Regions of Kohat and Peshawar and this constituency was created following the 2002 delimitation.