Monday, 8 February 2016

Elections Post-"Tsunami". Part 1: Peshawar

The following is an analysis of all the electoral constituencies – both provincial and national – in Peshawar, and possible candidates who stand the greatest chance of carrying those constituencies for the PTI. The purpose of this exercise is to highlight possible electoral patterns and potential vote-banks in Peshawar post the PTI’s “tsunami”. I wanted to write this in the hopes of possibly drawing attention to areas where PTI MP's may have failed to deliver or could improve. Based on the feedback for this blog posting, I may be inclined to follow up with similar analyses about the other districts of KP as well. Please bear in mind that nothing stated is absolute and all views mentioned on here are conjecture.

Peshawar is a very diverse city composed of many different cultures, linguistic and ethnic groups. It consists of both urban and rural localities and lies on the peripheries of the tribal areas. As a result, political opinion in Peshawar tends to sway greatly after each election cycle, but it also shows a pattern of consistency much in line with the prevailing geopolitical situation in the region. Because of its status as the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, political trends in Peshawar have a direct impact on the rest of the province particularly the districts closest to it.

The most recent general election saw the PTI claim an overwhelming majority of seats - both provincial and national. The PTI’s win has been attributed to a sudden wave in popularity thanks to its Chairman, Imran Khan, who capitalized on the abysmal performance of the previous ANP-PPP coalition government in the province and won the majority of seats, in both the federal and provincial legislatures. The PTI put up people, who prior to contesting the 2013 General Election, had either very mediocre or no political careers whatsoever. Many succeeded in defeating political heavyweights and veterans from their respective constituencies, however as things stand and the deluge that once had the entire province in its grips begins to drastically wane, the PTI must seriously rethink its election strategy if it aims to carry a majority of seats from KP, especially in the face of a united opposition composed of the ANP, PPP and JUI-F.

The city of Peshawar is by far the largest city in the province, with a population in excess of 3 million, divided among 4 national and 11 provincial constituencies. Here is a list of those constituencies followed by a list of possible candidates.

NA-1

The first constituency of the lower house of parliament encompasses most of what is locally known as the “inner city”, cutting across the Khyber road from the Bala Hisar Fort in the Cantonment to Gulbahar on the other side. The population is urbanized and quite diverse. In recent years, ANP leader Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has dominated the local political scene. Bilour and his brothers - born and bred in the inner city – made their name in politics and business, introduced the ANP to Peshawar. Prior to Ghulam Bilour dominating the political scene previous winners of the NA -1 constituency included luminaries such Yusuf Khattak (1970, 1977) and Younis Elahi (1985), until in 1988 former CM Aftab Sherpao won the constituency in an election where Ghulam Bilour polled over 35,000 votes.

Sherpao opted not to retain his national constituency, which he vacated in order to become the Chief Minister of the then NWFP. Bilour won an easy victory in the by-election as a joint candidate of both the ANP as well as the PPP.


In the 1990 election Bilour was forced to face former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the PPP Benazir Bhutto, who ran on the NA-1 seat on the advice of PPP leader and former provincial cabinet minister Iftikhar Ahmad Khan Jhagra. Coincidentally Jhagra would also advise PTI Chairman Imran Khan to run for the same seat in 2013. Bilour won a resounding victory over the former PM, by securing over 50,000 votes.

In 1993 Bilour lost to PPP candidate Zafar Ali Shah of the Sadaat business family; Shah had contested once before in 1985 but lost to Yunus Elahi. Shah beat Bilour, who attained 35,755 votes by close to 5,000. Zafar Ali Shah was the father of PPP leader and 2008 provincial cabinet minister, Zahir Ali Shah. Bilour would however stage a comeback in 1997 against another rival, the late Syed Qamar Abbas, and secure 25,930 votes to Abbas’s 11,275. The election also saw the death of Bilour’s only son Shabbir at the hands of Abbas’s gunmen. Abbas too would be gunned down in the inner city in late 2007.

The 2002 elections under the Musharraf regime brought with it delimitations and constituency changes. Bilour, unable to run under the new rules because he did not possess an undergraduate degree, fielded his nephew, the late Usman Bilour, son of martyred ANP leader and former senior minister in the ANP cabinet in KP, Bashir Ahmad Bilour. Usman lost by a little over 14,000 votes against Shabbir Ahmad (37,179 votes), who was part of a coalition of right wing religious parties known as the MMA. In 2008 Ghulam Bilour would again win by getting 44,210 votes. The runner-up was PPP candidate Ayub Shah who despite lacking the resources to run secured 37,682.

2013 would bring about Bilour’s biggest defeat yet. Facing off against a newly invigorated PTI and its popular Chairman Imran Khan, who pulled in an unbelievable of 90,500 votes compared to Bilour’s 24,468. Khan, feeling that the PTI would be able to pull off another win if it had to would vacate NA -1 in favor of the more marginal NA-56 where the PTI pulled off a tough win. However, the PTI lost the by-election in a surprise upset to Bilour who secured 34,386 votes against the PTI’s Gul Badshah 28,911. PTI dissident leader Samad Mursalin received 1,770 votes.

The loss was attributed to the PTIs poor choice of candidate, many accusing Badshah of being an Afghan immigrant who is alleged to have received Pakistani nationality illegally.

With the 2013 wave of the PTI over, Bilour again stands the best of chances of retaining his seat. Widely respected, Bilour has consistently polled at least 25,000 votes every time he has run; and almost 35,000 on four different occasions. Still very active in his constituency, it is highly likely that he will run again and win - unless confronted by a thorough election strategy or a candidate with immense star power. Barring some anomaly, like the one in 2013, expect Bilour to bag up to 35,000 votes in 2018 under the ANP-PPP-JUI-F tripartite alliance.

PK-1


ANP stalwart Bashir Ahmad Bilour had the most success on the PK-1 provincial constituency prior to the 2002 delimitations. In 1988 he lost to the PPP’s Ayub Shah who received 13,442 votes to Bilour’s 11,197. Bilour would go on to win 3 more times beating rival Ayub Shah in 1990 by almost 6000 (Bilour 17,466; Shah 11,894), in 1993 by 42 (Bilour 13,086;Shah 13,044) and in 1997 by over 11,000 (Bilour 16,349; Shah 5,261) votes. Bilour’s constituency from 2002 onwards was shifted to PK-3 while Ayub Shah’s remained in PK-1.

Ayub Shah would lose again in 2002 after polling 4,612 against MMA first timer Dr. Zakir Shah who received 8,953 votes. In 2008 the ANP carried the constituency once again through Alamzeb Khan who received 8,196 votes, narrowly edging out PPP rival Muhammad Akbar Khan Safi by almost 500 votes. The incumbent Dr. Zakir Shah managed just over 4,000 votes and PML-N General Secretary Senator Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, a cousin of PPP’s Iftikhar Jhagra, managed a paltry 700.

Alamzeb Khan - originally from Dir - would be killed in his constituency by a remote controlled motorcycle bomb not far from where he was standing. His brother Aurangzeb Khan - who used be a Tehsil Nazim in Dir, was backed by the ANP-PPP coalition government and would comfortably win by securing 9,886 votes. The runner up was JI leader Haji Dost Mohammad with 4,508 followed by Dr. Zakir Shah who received 3,683 votes.

In 2013 PTI candidate Ziaullah Afridi secured almost 23,000 votes followed by Malik Muhammad Nadeem of the QWP (6,907), Bahrullah Khan of the JI (5,156), Akhundzada Irfanullah Shah of the JUI-F (4,819) and the son of ANP leader Senator Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Ghazanfar Bilour (4,782).

The PTI has a strong following in the area but the arrest of Mines and Minerals Minister Ziaullah Afridi - who seemed poised to retaining his constituency - for corruption may cost the party. While he still is quite popular, his tirades against the party leadership, most notably CM Pervez Khattak won’t do him any favors in trying to get reelected; that is if he is declared innocent.

PK-2

PK-2 has always had a significant PPP ideological vote. Qamar Abbas won it in 1988 by getting 15,641 votes against ANP stalwart former Senator Haji Adeel who received 6,212 and former NA-1 MNA in 2002 Shabbir Ahmad who ended up getting 5,058.

IJI candidate Haji Muhammad Javed claimed the seat in 1990, securing 14,172 against former PPP MNA from NA-1 in 1993, Zafar Ali Shah who managed 11,034 votes. Qamar Abbas would retake the constituency for the PPP in 1993 winning by 853 votes, beating flourmill owner and businessmen Syed Ali Shah (late) who contested as a PML-N candidate, polling 12,050 votes. His son, the PTI’s Syed Qasim Ali Shah is currently the Naib-Nazim of Peshawar.


Syed Ali Shah would beat Qamar Abbas in 1997 by securing 8,133 votes against Abbas’s 4,736. Haji Javed who withdrew against Shah in ’93 polled 3,361 votes. The 1997 election was also the first time the PTI stepped in the electoral ring; Samad Mursalin came in 4th on PK -2 with 1,053 votes.

Former provincial cabinet minister and PPP leader Zahir Ali Shah was one of the very few politicians to survive against the MMA sweep in 2002. He secured 11,461 votes against MMA candidate Awais Ahmad Qadri who lost by 3,200 votes. Trader Haji Muhammad Afzal came in 3rd with 5,053 votes. The PTI fielded Taskeenuddin Khattak who managed 4th with 616.

Zahir Shah would retain his constituency in 2008 and increase his finally tally to 19,814 beating ANP candidate Haroon Bilour - Bashir Bilour’s eldest son - who took 16,453 of the popular vote.

Zahir Shah succumbed in 2013 to the PTI’s clean sweep of the province. Close confidante of party Chairman Imran Khan and Shangla native Shaukat Ali Yousufzai won by gaining 27,456 votes against Shah’s almost 11,500. Yousafzai would become a member of CM Pervez Khattak’s cabinet until being unseated by Chairman Imran Khan.

While there is no doubt of the PTI’s presence in the city but veteran Zahir Shah and his family have roots in the area going back decades. Shaukat, a political novice, isn’t even from the locality and having been unseated from the provincial cabinet for incompetence may affect him negatively in 2018. Shah has consistently gotten 11,000 votes. It would be safe to say that should he decide to run, there is a great possibility he will succeed in winning.

PK-3

Prior to delimitation, the areas that used to be PK-3 now come under NA-2. The constituency as with NA- 2 was dominated by the Khalils of Tehkal, whose most notable members include former federal minister and CM NWFP Arbab Jahangir Khan Khalil, who also enjoys the privilege of having never been defeated electorally in both provincial and national contest, as well as his cousin and brother-in-law NAP/ANP stalwart Arbab Saifur Rehman who remained Deputy Speaker of the Frontier Assembly in 1972. Jahangir won the constituency first in the party-less elections of 1985 as an incumbent MNA of the PPP from NA-2.

He was subsequently elected as Chief Minister of the province, followed by a stint as Leader of the Opposition in the Frontier Assembly after winning independently in 1988 by securing 7,336 votes against another cousin Arbab Muhammad Hamayun who received 5,066 votes for the ANP. The PPP fielded Abdul Manan Akhundzada. He managed to get 4,826 votes while IJI candidate Muhammad Azam Chishti, the father of JI leader and former NWFP cabinet minister in the MMA from PK-6 Kashif Azam Chishti, got 4,699.

Arbab Saifur Rehman would finally win again after a long hiatus in 1990 (7,059 votes) against runner up Inamullah Khan (2,841; PPP) Azam Chishti (2,839; independent), his cousin Arbab Hamayun (2,065; independent), Abdullah Khalil (2,320; JUI-F), and his nephew former federal minister for sports and culture under Zia-ul-Haq Col. Arbab Niaz’s son, Arbab Dost Mohammad (2,250; independent). Dost Mohammad, a former civil servant in the Internal Revenue Service, would later in life join the PTI and was the party’s pick for the NA-2 constituency before tragically succumbing to cancer just before the 2013 elections. His son Arbab Mohammad Ali – also with the PTI - is the current Tehsil Nazim for Town 3 Peshawar.

Saifur Rehman would retain his seat in 1993 winning over PPP candidate Alamgir Khan Khalil, a cousin of PPP leader Iftikhar Jhagra, by attaining 9,509 votes over Khalil’s 8,326. Khalil would lose again in 1997 to Saifur Rehman who this time received 8,627 votes Khalil’s 4,012. The PTI candidate for the election was Arbab Saadatullah who came in 4th after getting 1,150 votes. The elections were also the first and last time Arbab Khizar Hayat, a cousin of sitting PML-N MPA Arbab Akbar Hayat would run on PK-3. He finished last with less than 40 votes. Khizer Hayat is also famous for having joined over 14 political parties. Currently he’s affiliated with the PML-N

The post-delimitation 2002 elections saw the ANP clinch the district under Bashir Bilour who had made it his 4th successive win receiving 9,504 votes, and narrowly beating MMA candidate Maulana Abdur Rauf Jan who got 9,350 votes. PPP’s Aurangzeb Mohmand took 3rd place with 4,849 votes and 4th place was taken by PTI candidate Saqib Inam.

Bilour retained his seat in 2008 by polling 16,648 votes against PPP runner-up Muhammad Iqbal Mohmand (12,506) with Maulana Ismail Darwesh (2,613) taking 3rd place as an independent. Bilour, a sitting senior minister in the provincial cabinet, was killed months before the 2013 election by a suicide bomber while attending a worker’s meeting. There was no by-election but his son Haroon was appointed as adviser to the CM in his father’s stead.

In 2013, a completely unknown Javed Nasim took 18,088 votes for the PTI against Haroon Bilour’s 15,293. JI’s Khalid Gul Mohmand took 3rd place with 4,750. Maulana Ismail Darwesh came 4th with 3,831. And previous runner-up Muhammad Iqbal Mohmand took in 2,770 for the PPP.

Nasim would of course end up being expelled from the party for ranting against KP CM Pervez Khattak and members of his party, but has been recently operating as a parliamentary secretary. It is highly unlikely he will retain his seat.

NA-2

The areas that fall into NA-2 consist of many middle class and upper middle class residential localities. The population is slightly less rural than urbanized with a heavy mix of traditional and non-traditional voters. The constituency has been dominated for the past few decades by the Khalils of Tehkal, particularly Arbab Jahangir Khan Khalil and his immediate family. He won for the first time in 1977 against his brother-in-law and incumbent Deputy Speaker in NWFP, Arbab Saifur Rehman, followed by a tenure as CM NWFP from 1985 to 1988. In 1985, a little known middle class candidate, Salim Khan Khalil, beat Jahangir’s brother; former federal minister Col. Arbab Niaz.

In 1988, former PPP federal minister Khan Bahadar Khan would beat the ANP’s Arbab Saifur Rehman by securing 24,444 votes to Saifur Rehman’s 19,402. Salim Khan Khalil would come in last place as a JUI candidate, securing barely over 1,000 votes. Jahangir was Leader of the Opposition in the Frontier Assembly.

Following that, Jahangir would dominate from 1990 to 1997. He won with 31,222 votes as an ANP candidate against PPP leader Aftab Sherpao who received 19,137 in 1990. He took in 27,345 as a PPP candidate against ANP candidate Abdur Rehman Khan’s 20,804 in 1993. Popular cleric Azam Chishti came away with a decent 12,486. And finally Arbab Jahangir polled 24,094 votes as an ANP candidate in 1997 against former District Nazim Peshawar, former Senator, former FPCCI Chairman and son-in-law of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman Haji Ghulam Ali who received 12,415 votes and was backed by both the JUI and the PPP. The PTI candidate Ibadatullah Khan came a surprising 3rd with a fairly decent 4,348.

Arbab Jahangir had decided to retire from politics for good and fielded his son Dr. Arbab Alamgir as a joint PPP-ANP candidate for the 2002 elections. Alamgir lost by almost 22,000 votes to unknown MMA contestant, Malauna Rehmatullah, who received over 37,728 votes to Alamgir’s 15,771. Abdul Manan Akhundzada who contested on the PPP-S platform came in 4th with a measly 926 after PAT candidate Khalid Ayub (1,575).

Nevertheless, Alamgir would win in 2008 on the PPP platform by getting 34,443 votes against cousin Arbab Najeebullah who received almost 24,000 as an ANP candidate. He was appointed as federal minister for transport and communication while his wife Asma Alamgir, who is also a niece of Iftikhar Jhagra’s, and Iqbal Jhagra’s, as well as her father-in-law Arbab Jahangir’s; she was made an MNA and subsequently an advisor to the Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani on SAFRON. Both husband and wife are now facing charges of corruption by NAB as a result of which their political careers are bound to suffer.

With the PTI frisson in full swing in 2013, candidate Hameed-ul-Haq Khalil received a whopping 79,125 votes against second placed Muhammad Saeed Jan from the JUI-F who got 18,787. Both scions of the Khalil Arbabs, Dr. Arbab Alamgir (PPP) and Arbab Najeebullah (ANP) received just 10,666 and 12,137 votes respectively.

While the Arbab clan has seen better days politically, one can expect a joint candidate put forward by members of the united opposition, most likely Najeebullah should Alamgir decide to field his son, Union Councilor Arbab Zarak for the PK-5 constituency. Alamgir under NAB indictment may find it difficult to run again whereas Haq’s performance as MNA, especially during the 2015 local government elections in KP have exposed glaring holes in his ability to deliver.

PK-4

This constituency was dominated by the PPP and ANP until 2013, and by two veteran leaders in particular. In 1988 then future district Nazim Peshawar Azam Afridi of the PPP beat 2008 winner Syed Aqil Shah of the ANP by securing 10,045 votes against Shah’s 6,229. JUI-F leader Dr. Fida Hussain took in 4,833 votes. Former advisor to caretaker CM Shamsul Mulk, Sikandar Aziz Khan came 4th with 2,325 votes.

1990 saw a former NWFP finance minister, Speaker and Senator Haji Adeel beat Azam Afridi by almost 3,000 votes, with Adeel securing 10, 705 against Afridi’s 7,879. Another district Nazim Peshawar, JUI-F leader Haji Ghulam Ali, came in 3rd with 3,565 votes. Adeel would pull off a repeat in 1993 with the same people rounding out the top 3. He received 11,772 votes, compared to Afridi’s 9,475 and Ghulam Ali’s 3,079.

1997 would bring Adeel’s biggest victory over Afridi yet, managing 11,958 votes to Afridi’s meager 3,869. PTI candidate Zahid Hussain who received 1,422 votes claimed 3rd place. Current PPP leader Kifayatullah Orakzai also contested in the 1990 and 1997 contests as an independent attaining 195 and 65 votes respectively.

In 2002, after the constituency changes, Mir Ibrahim Qasmi contested as an independent and won with 5,097 votes, against PPP candidate Syed Khizar Hayat’s 4,140. Hayat was also backed by the ANP. 3rd place went to PML-N candidate Arshad Qureshi with 3,833 votes. MMA candidate Haji Ihsan -ul-Haq came in 5th with 1,614 and PTI candidate, future PK-4 MPA Arif Yousaf took 1,452 votes.

Incumbent Qasmi would secure 6,103 votes – as an independent - in 2008 but lose by approximately 200 votes to Syed Aqil Shah (6,321). Kifayatullah Orakzai would gather 5,826 votes as a PPP candidate and come in 3rd place. PML-N candidate Arshad Qureshi got away 3,335 votes, and claimed 4th place.

Arif Yousaf (PTI) contested and won in 2013 by getting 20,803 votes, followed by Ibrahim Qasmi who received 10,567 votes, this time as an MDM candidate; Aqil Shah (ANP) came in 3rd place with 5,873 votes, while Arshad Qureshi (PML-N) came in 4th with 3,345 and Kifayatullah Orakzai (PPP) with 3,115 votes.

One can be safe in assuming that the likes of Qasmi, Aqil Shah, Kifayatullah, Qureshi and Yousaf will most certainly be involved in some way in 2018. Whoever wins will solely depend on who breaks into the other’s traditional vote bank.

PK-5

Haji Abdur Rehman of the ANP won PK-5 in 1988 by 11,004 votes, beating out rivals Haji Rafiq (PPP; 5,871) and independent runner-up Haji Nawaz (5,947). Abdur Rehman won again in 1990 this time getting 8,711 votes having won again from Nawaz who managed 6,946 – as a PPP candidate. The 1990 election was also the first time PPP leader and former Speaker KP assembly Kiramatullah Chagharmatai ran, as an independent gaining almost 5,000 votes.

Haji Nawaz finally won in 1993 in Abdur Rehman’s absence as a PPP candidate, securing 11,553 against ANP’a Riffat Ahmad Khalil’s 6,646. Kiramatullah would again run as an independent, this time securing nearly 5,570 votes.

Haji Abdur Rehman ran again in 1997 but was given his toughest run yet by Kiramatullah Chagarmatai who had been convinced to join the PPP by Iftikhar Jhagra. Abdur Rehman won 7,636 to Kiramatullah’s 7,592.

2002 saw the MMA’s Maulana Amanullah Haqqani (12,065) win PK-5 - now in urban Peshawar – against ANP’s Syed Bilal Shah who got 3,174, PML-N’s Arbab Khizar Hayat who got 1,617 and current PTI MNA NA -2 Hameed-ul-Haq who came in 4th with 1,443 votes.

In 2008 ANP worker and Union Councilor Tehkal Atifur Rehman won securing 9,184 votes against PPP’s Shaukatullah Bangash’s 6,892. Bangash’s father Haji Saifullah Bangash is a sitting Senator with the PPP. Both father and son have been under investigation for various acts of corruption dating back to 2000. Shaukatullah was recently taken into NAB custody. 2002 winner, Amanullah Haqqani came in 3rd on the JUI-F ticket with 5,604 and 2013 winner Yasin Khalil received 5,292 votes as an independent.

Yasin Khalil contested on the PTI ticket and ran away with 31,639 votes; he used to be PPP’s Tehsil Nazim Town 3 under PPP District Nazim Azam Afridi, and after winning, went on to become a minister in the provincial cabinet until he was unseated along with Shaukat Yousufzai for gross incompetence. His closest competitor was Amanullah Haqqani (JUI-F) got 6,957 votes, followed by QWP’s Muhammad Ibrar with 4,148 and PML-Ns Farhad Ali with 3,230. Incumbent Atifur Rehman received 3,134 votes as an independent while his replacement on the ANP ticket Arbab Muhammad Tahir got 1,623 only. Perhaps the most shocking display was by PPP MNA from NA-2 Dr. Arbab Alamgir who managed to carry only 2,555 votes.

PK-5 is in the heart of NA-2 and apart from being overrun by the Khalilzai Mohmand tribe, and is considered a fortress of its Arbabs. While they may have performed terribly in the recent 2013 elections, that does not mean all hope is lost for the next generation. Dr. Alamgir’s son Arbab Zarak who became a Union Councilor after winning in the 2015 local government elections will most certainly be expected to run on the PPP ticket. Under the tripartite alliance Zarak can fully expect Amanullah Haqqani’s vote bank as well as the ANP’s support base completely at his disposal. Even with his parents under NAB indictment Zarak stands a good chance of winning. This is primarily due to his late grandfather, former CM Arbab Jahangir’s influence in the area, and his personal rapport with the public in his constituency.

PK-6


The former PK-6 was dominated by veteran politician Arbab Muhammad Ayub Jan. Ayub Jan first won in 1985 and was made health minister in CM Arbab Jahangir’s cabinet. He followed that up with another win in 1988 as a PPP candidate gaining 11,000 votes, almost 6,000 more than JUI-F candidate, Hamayun Khan (2,068). He became minister for local government in Aftab Sherpao’s cabinet in 1990 (10,479), after beating ANP leader Taj-ud-Din Khan (9,142) by nearly 1,300 votes. This was a huge improvement in Taj-ud-Din’s performance from 1988 where he only managed to get 770 of the popular vote.

Ayub Jan polled 15,293 in 1993, beating ANP’s Abdul Ali Khan and PML-N General Secretary Iqbal Zafar Jhagra who received 7,438 and 4,276 votes respectively. Arbab Khizar Hayat, who polled 1,223 as an independent, ran for an election for the first time in 1993.

Ayub Jan would defect to the ANP in 1997 and make it five in a row, taking in 8,647 votes against runner-up Iqbal Jhagra’s 7,962. Muhammad Israr who contested as a PNP candidate in 1988 - where he got 2,561 votes – increased his tally to 3,492 as a candidate of the PPP.

In 2002 when PK-6 was moved to urban Peshawar, JI leader and MMA candidate Kashif Azam Chishti won almost 11,000 votes against ANP veteran Haji Adeel who polled 6,092. Alamgir Khalil, who had been the PPP’s runner-up on PK-3 in 1993 and 1997, had defected to the PPP-S after Adeel was chosen over him as joint candidate and came in 3rd receiving 3,640 votes.

Alamgir Khalil would finally win a provincial assembly seat in 2008 after joining the ANP. He received 9,742 of the popular vote against the PPP’s Ashfaq Khalil who polled almost 9,103. 3rd place went to PML-Q candidate Shahid Hussain Afridi (3,822), 4th to independent Aurangzeb Khalil (2,441) and 5th place to PML-N’s Hikmat Khalil (1,752).

Alamgir Khalil would lose for the first time as an ANP candidate in 2013, polling his lowest yet, 3,720 (6th place). Ahead of him were PPP rival Ashfaq Khalil (5th place; 5,029), JUI-F’s Muhammad Zubair (4th place; 5,169), JI’s Kashif Azam Chisthi (3rd place; 6,266), independent Raees Khan (runner-up; 7,619) and PTI’s Fazal Elahi (winner; 15,909).

Interestingly Raees Khan ran as an independent but his campaign poster showed him to be running as a PML -N candidate; no doubt a ploy aimed at joining whichever party were to gain a majority in the assembly. He may very well try to run again and even stand a decent chance at winning particularly if he were to play his cards right, especially considering the combined tally of all 3 alliance party candidates of less than 14,000 in 2013. Incumbent Elahi would beat them by 2,000 votes. Although Fazal Elahi’s chances may have dampened after having led an unruly mob into a PESCO power station and setting it ablaze while he took the employees as hostage before the police arrived and he was forced to let them ago. Another strong contender is Kashif Azam Chishti, who along with his father is still widely respected. It would not hurt the PTI’s chances of winning if they were to strike up an alliance with Chishti.
  
NA-3

NA-3 begins with a small patch of urban areas along Warsak Road followed by village after village after village, which ends at the boundary with Mohmand Agency and Charsadda adjacent to Dalazak. Prior to the 2002 delimitations NA-3 was known as Peshawar-cum-Nowshera and included villages that now make up part of Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera. The constituency saw the likes of Wali Khan (1970), Aftab Sherpao (1977) and Hameed Khan (1985) win.

PPP leader, former Senator Sardar Ali, also asked to join the party by Iftikhar Jhagra, won a toughly contested election in 1988 against Abdul Latif Afridi by securing 28,408 votes against Afridi’s 24,727. Shinwari tribesman Pirzada Nabi Amin would get 23,798 for the IJI.

In 1990 former federal minister, and the son of veteran Muslim Leaguer (late) Senator Arbab Noor Muhammad Khan, Arbab Zahir contested as an ANP candidate and secured 38,730 votes, comfortably beating nearest rival Abdul Latif Afridi (PPP candidate; 19,997) by almost 20,000 votes. JUI-F’s Maulana Usman took in 11,770 while Pirzada Nabi Amin came away with a decent 11,269 as an independent.

Zahir would again win 1993 by gaining 36,134 votes, 6000 more than PPP’s Sardar Ali who won 30,576. Sardar Ali (20,291) would lose again in 1997, this time by over 28,000 votes to Arbab Saadullah Khan of the ANP who received 48,451 votes. Saadullah was disqualified to run in 2002 for not having an undergraduate degree and was more recently prosecuted by NAB, which made him ineligible to run again for electoral contest.

The ANP and PPP alliance put up former Speaker KP assembly (2008 to 2013) Kiramatullah Khan Chagarmatai as their candidate who managed to get 14,662 votes compared to MMA candidate Qari Fayyazur Rehman Alvi’s 33,567. Former provincial minister, the late Arbab Ayub Jan contested and received over 8,838 votes as a member of former ANP stalwart Ajmal Khattak’s National Alliance Party Pakistan (NAPP). NAPP would expel Khattak in 2003 for trying to merge with the ANP. It would merge anyway a few months later.

In 2008 wealthy landowner Noor Alam Khan (27,038) of the PPP beat ANP candidate Hashim Babar (26,201) by almost 800 votes in a close election. Babar would resign from the ANP over issues relating to the allocation of a ticket to run for Senate, after which he decided to join the PTI, only to quit and move on to the QWP after running independently and losing in the 2013 election. PML-N Secretary General Iqbal Jhagra took in 12,096 votes to clinch 3rd place. Babar too is under NAB indictment. He recently escaped the premises of a court after an embezzlement hearing went against him.

Sajid Nawaz, a relative of Noor Alam’s, and son of former PPP MPA Haji Muhammad Nawaz would win the 2013 edition of the polls. He got 66,528 votes against runner-up Haji Ghulam Ali’s 27,987 followed by PML-N leader Senator Iqbal Jhagra’s 22,370 and then incumbent Noor Alam’s 22,045.

NA-3 is a very fickle constituency. It contains pockets of support for all the political parties and requires great resources to run. Sajid Nawaz has barely been seen or heard from, something that has caused great dismay among his constituents. However, the PTI still possesses a sizeable vote bank in the area and can rely on the even distribution of votes to do it a favor unless it has to face off against a political heavyweight with the means, patience and experience to pull off a win. If that is the case, Haji Ghulam Ali stands the best of chances, especially in a tripartite alliance.

PK-7

PK-7 is a largely rural constituency and prior to 2002 consisted mostly of villages that are now part of PK-9. Former provincial cabinet minister and PPP leader Iftikhar Ahmad Khan Jhagra, the son of Ibrahim Khan Jhagra, a former member of Congress, a Leaguer and a confidante of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, made his own mark in politics by winning here first in 1985, canvassing from pillar to post to help the PPP form the government, although he was infamously not chosen by Arbab Jahangir to be a member of his cabinet. He won again in 1988 by securing 10,558 votes against fellow political heavyweight Arbab Zahir, who raked in 4,910 votes as an independent. He also ran as an independent on the PK-8 seat and came in as runner-up there too with 3,750 votes. The ANP’s Salim Akbar came in 3rd with 2,738 votes while a breakaway faction of the ANP fielded Muhammad Zaman who took in 1,360.

Jhagra would retake PK -7 in 1990 by securing 8,247 votes as a candidate of the IJI against the ANP’s Muhammad Zaman (6,849), and then PPP candidate Arbab Saadullah Khan (6,532) who would later become an ANP MNA from NA-3 in 1997.

Saadullah ran a second time in 1993 as an independent and gathered 6,912 of the popular vote, bettered only by the PPP’s Iftikhar Jhagra who came away with 7,415 and Jhagra’s rival Hidayatullah Chamkani who received 8,761 votes and was elected as Speaker NWFP Assembly. Salim Akbar ran as an independent only managed 165.

Chamkani would be reelected with 12,668 votes in 1997 and become Speaker for a second time, having bettered rival Jhagra (9,516) by 3000 votes. PTI candidate Syed Mohammad Ishtiaq Burki came in 3rd with almost 2,800 votes.

2002 saw MMA candidate Hashmat Khan win PK-7 with 11,830 votes against ANP backed PPP candidate Kiramatullah Chagarmatai who came away with 6,764 votes. He was followed by incumbent ANP MNA Arbab Saadullah Khan who decided to contest on the PPP-S platform and received 4,455 votes.

Chagarmatai would finally win a seat in 2008 by securing 8,009 votes beating MMA candidate Azadullah who got 5,829. ANP’s Younis Jan got 5,229 votes. He was voted in as Speaker in the ANP-PPP coalition government. PML-Q candidate Mehmood Jan came in 4th with 3,203 votes.

Mehmood Jan joined the PTI and won in 2013 by 12,583 votes. The runner-up was 2002 winner JI’s Hashmat Khan with 6,684 while JUI-F’s Rafiq Khalil came in 3rd with 6,402 and incumbent PPP’s Chagarmatai received 6,294. Interestingly independent Kiramatullah Khalil came in 5th by gaining 5,148 votes and PML-N’s Syed Abbas Ali Shah managed 4,377.

While Mehmood Jan’s improvement from 2008 was dramatic, the strong showing by opposition candidates indicates the PTI may have a tough fight on its hands. The tripartite alliance may decide to field veteran Chagarmatai. He stands a very good chance of winning even if the JI’s Hashmat Khan decides to run and potentially divide the religious vote bank.

Kiramatullah Khalil used to be a Union Councilor in 2004 and resigned in protest against then Nazim Town 3 Yasin Khalil’s alleged corruption, as well as his indifference to Kiramatullah’s ward.

PK-8

PK-8 prior to 2002 consisted of areas that were situated on the peripheries of the city and as a result attracted repeat candidates with relatively erratic voting patterns, especially when it came to independents. Arbab Zahir ran as independent in 1988 and was runner-up with 3,748 votes against ANP leader Haji Abdur Raziq (4,138) who won by barely 400 votes. Ghulam Haider (IJI; 2,748), Farman Ali (PPP; 2,697) and Syed Haroon Shah (JUI-F; 2,349) rounded out the rest of the top of the table. Nisar Khan, an independent gained 190 votes.

Abdur Raziq would win for the ANP again in 1990 with 6,661 votes against scholar Pirzada Nabi Amin who got 4,869 as an independent. Independents dominated the rest of the top ten, starting with Haji Hastam Khan (1,700), PTI’s candidate for NA-3 in 2002 Ibadatullah Khan (1,271), Farman Ali (1,263), Nisar Khan (1,017), Abdur Rauf Khan (PPP; 1,011), Amin Jan (848), previous runner-up Ghulam Haider (779) and Khyal Akbar Afridi (485).

The 1993 election saw Abur Raziq part ways with the ANP and lost to ANP candidate Muhammad Iqbal Khan who took 7,047 votes against Raziq’s 4,052. PPP backed Habibur Rehman took 2,595 while independents Nisar (2,459) and Ibadatullah Khan (2,096), with the exception of Amin Jan (636) increased their vote banks.

The 1997 election finally saw Arbab Zahir - with the ANP’s backing - win a provincial seat. He defeated independent Pirzada Syed-ul Amin, who secured 5,014 to Zahir’s 7,008. Syed-ul Amin, Nabi Amin’s brother, would be made provincial Adviser to CM Akram Durrani in 2002.

PK-8 would also fall under the MMA sweep in 2002, being claimed by JUI-F leader Asif Iqbal Daudzai with 8,713 votes against PPP backed ANP leader Taj-ud-Din Khan who got 4,198 of the popular vote. PPP’s MNA from NA-3 in 2008 Noor Alam Khan stood as a PPP-S candidate and received about 2,345 votes.

In 2008 PPP’s Malik Tamash (6,869) beat PML-Q’s Arbab Akbar Hayat (6,032), incumbent Asif Iqbal Daudzai (5,636), ANP’s Arbab Nazir Ahmad (3,914) and independent Haji Jehanzeb Khan (1,975).

In 2013 Arbab Akbar Hayat won a significant victory – as a PML-N candidate – over Asif Iqbal Daudzai who secured 10,458 votes to Hayat’s 13,528. Akbar Hayat is currently the PML-N’s parliamentary leader in the KP Assembly. PTI candidate Haji Jehanzeb came in 3rd with 9,335 votes followed by incumbent Malik Tamash and JUI-S candidate Abdul Haseeb receiving 8,324 and 3,647 votes respectively.

Although the PML-N may not have a large following in Peshawar, Arbab Akbar Hayat’s popularity with the voters of PK-8 makes him a very strong contender for the seat. Asif Iqbal Daudzai has also performed really well and could very well carry the constituency for the alliance. While Malik Tamash may also have a robust vote bank but his placing 4th could rule him out of the running.

PK-9

The newly created PK-9, which prior to 2002 used to designate a provincial constituency in Nowshera was first won by PPP’s Iftikhar Jhagra who beat NAPP’s Arbab Ayub Jan 9,447 to 9,075. NAPP which stood for National Awami Party Pakistan was made by dissident ANP leader Ajmal Khattak and Ayub Jan was its provincial president. The ANP had backed Jhagra. This was one of few constituencies where the MMA didn’t feature in the top two with Maulan Sami-ur-Rehman getting 7,784 of the electorate. 4th place was claimed by Salim Akbar who received 133 votes.

In 2008 Ayub Jan got the better of former PPP colleague Jhagra. The election was equally close as the last as Ayub Jan received 14,854 votes against Jhagra’s 14,146 votes. Maulana Sami-ur-Rehman again claimed 3rd place but this time with a measly 1,491 votes.

Ayub Jan decided to run for NA-4 in 2013 and instead fielded his son Arbab Muhammad Usman on the ANP ticket, who came in 5th with 8,301 votes behind surprise challenger Rashid Mehmood Khan with 8,444 votes; 3rd placed Jhagra, who had just rejoined the PPP after having left it over a year before for the PTI, with 10,760; 2nd placed Mohammad Sharif, a new arrival to the JUI-F, who got 10,782 votes; and the winner Arbab Jahandad who received 13,385 votes for the PTI.

Jahandad got the ticket after Jhagra decided to leave the PTI citing hostile behavior by the party’s old guard. To fund his campaign Jahandad borrowed in excess of 25 lakh from the people in his constituency, which he now pleads ignorance to, claiming he never borrowed any money from anyone. His performance as MPA and his overall attitude has drawn the ire of many, not just within his constituency but in the areas surrounding too. It is highly unlikely he will retain his seat.


It’s still up for debate whether Jhagra decides to run again or not but there is little doubt, especially in the absence of the deceased Ayub Jan and a tripartite alliance, that Jhagra would carry the constituency with great ease.

NA-4

The NA-4 (Peshawar 4) constituency only came into being in 2002, post Musharraf-era delimitation. It is mostly rural and the Kohat Road runs almost right through the middle. The area is bound by the Bara Road to the North and FR Peshawar to the South. The first person to win in the constituency was Sabir Hussain Awan who ran as a candidate of the MMA. He received 28,728 votes and beat ANP veteran Arbab Zahir who ended up getting 16,660 votes. Zahir had both the ANP and PPP’s backing. 3rd placed Arbab Shabeer played spoiler to Zahir by receiving 6,266 votes on the PML-Q ticket while another veteran politician former provincial minister Haji Abdur Raziq, who had parted ways with the ANP almost a decade before came 4th with 4,887 votes. The PTI’s Javed Burki came in 5th with 4,500 votes.

Zahir would make a comeback to the National Assembly in 2008 after a fifteen year hiatus bagging 31,598 votes and beating former District Nazim Peshawar and PPP leader Azam Afridi who received 18,702, as well as then PML-Q leader and former federal minister Amir Muqam who procured 18,583 votes.

Zahir, after completing his stint as Minister for Narcotics would decide against running again and instead backed PTI candidate, former Chief Secretary KP Gulzar Khan who managed to get over 55,134 votes. His closest rival was PML-N leader Nasir Khan Musazai who got 20,412 votes. 2002 winner Sabir Awan received 16,493, while Arbab Ayub Jan got 15,795 votes. Arbab Zahir’s cousin, Arbab Kamal joined the JUI-F and got 12,519 votes. PPP candidate Misbah-ud-Din managed 12,031 votes.

Having alienated himself from the party by revolting against the Chairman, it is difficult to say whether Gulzar will be able to pull off another win. Add to that the added burden of NAB investigations against him from his time as CS, and the situation becomes all the more complicated.

NA-4 like NA-3 has relatively even support for all the major political parties but unlike NA-3 its political arena is dominated by various land owning Khans who rely on more traditional methods of politicking.

Without Arbab Ayub Jan and Arbab Zahir, the field is pretty open on NA-4 for someone to step in and make their voter base their own. There are many aspirants, however, the PML-N’s lack of concern and attention towards its members in KP might convince Nasir Khan Musazai to join the alliance. Should that happen, no one would put it past him to pull off a big win for them.

PK-10


PK-10 consists of areas in Peshawar bordering the Frontier Regions and Musazai and in 2002 was claimed first by the MMA whose candidate JI leader Javed Mohmand beat PPP backed ANP candidate Khushdil Khan 8,544 to 5,231 in 2002. Following Khushdil was Pirzada Nabi Amin who decided to contest after almost a decade. He received 3,787 votes, mostly from his traditional Shinwari vote bank, and contested as a PML-Q candidate. PML-N candidate Sajidullah Afridi came in 4th with 3,401 while PTI candidate Malik Tahir Raees Khan took 626 votes.

In 2008 Khushdil won with over 10,000 votes and went on to become Deputy Speaker in the ANP-PPP coalition provincial government. The runner-up was PML-Q candidate Sajjad Raza with 6,470 votes. The PPP took 3rd place with Niaz Mohammad’s 3,295 votes and the PML-N 4th with former ANP leader and provincial minister Haji Abdur Raziq on 3,195 votes.

The popular Khushdil lost to PTI’s Shah Farman by barely 1,000 votes in 2013. Farman secured victory with 11,525 votes to Khushdil’s 10,453. Surprise claimant for 3rd place was Amanullah Khan, a PML-N worker who got over 8,000 votes. He quit the party over the PML-N government and leadership’s indifferent attitude towards its workers in KP, and the province in general. 2002 winner Javed Mohmand came in 4th for the JI with just over 7,065 votes while the PPP’s Ghazanfar Ali received 6,229 votes.

Residents of PK-10 are all aware of Shah Farman’s decision not to run again in 2018. Farman, a provincial cabinet minister in the current PTI led government, has upset many a die-hard PTI activist with his apathy and indifferent behavior towards his supporters. Allegations of fraud and incompetence only serve add to people’s disillusionment. If he had decided to run, Shah Farman would still have had to face an alliance of three major political parties with a strong candidate in a very tough constituency, and in any likelihood would have lost.

PK-11

The last provincial constituency in Peshawar, PK-11 was dominated by members of the Chamkani clan in both 2002 and 2008. Its first MPA was the MMA’s Khalid Waqar Chamkani who secured 8,248 votes against ANP heavyweight Hidayatullah Chamkani who passed away in 2005 and received just below 7,000. A surprise contender was Mumtaz Iqbal who managed to get 6,351 votes on the PPP-S ticket. Independent candidate Masood Khan polled a healthy 3,576 and came in 4th place, beating out PML-N’s Farhan Zafar who got 1,348.

In 2008 Hidayatullah’s son Saqibullah Chamkani polled 12,113 votes against the MMA’s Khalid Waqar who took in 9,243 votes this time. PML-Q central leader Amir Muqam surprisingly took in over 5,000 votes. The PPP’s Misbah-ud-Din and the PML-N’s Nasir Khan Musazai, both of whom would run for NA-4 in 2013 for their respective parties, took in 3,719 and 2,824 votes respectively.

2013, the PTI’s Syed Mohammad Ishtiaq Burki, who came 3rd on the old PK-7 in 1997 for the PTI defeated JUI-F’s district president Khalid Waqar impressive tally of nearly 13,000, by attaining 15,153 votes. 3rd place was claimed by surprise newcomer Sifatullah Mashogagar who contested on the PML-N ticket. Mashogagar secured 11,140 votes and incumbent Saqibullah Chamkani came a distant 4th with close to 5,900 votes. The PPP’s Dawood Burki, who managed to take 3,375, followed him in 5th.

PK-11 represents a tricky challenge where filial loyalty and a traditional vote bank hold significant sway over prevailing trends and patterns. The tripartite alliance poses a huge threat in the form of Khaliq Waqar who seems to possess a heavy yet consistent vote-bank. They also have another option in the form of Saqibullah Chamkani who has just started to hit his stride in the ANP. Either one with the vote-bank of the other could represent a sure victory against any challenger.

Possible candidates for the PTI

NA-1

In light of the current competition on NA-1, the PTI need not look any further than Mrs. Malik Saad. Wife of an icon and a hero, there are few people as adored and respected as Malik Saad Khan Shaheed; an honest, brave and intelligent police chief who literally gave his life to serving the public. Whether it be the current blueprints for the development of Peshawar or the much-touted police reforms, all the progress being made in Peshawar can literally be traced back to him alone. To date, he is the senior-most police officer to willfully sacrifice his life for the safety and protection of the public.

Because of the exceptional nature of Malik Saad Shaheed, he left a huge impact in all the places he served, particularly in Dir, Buner, Swat and Peshawar, but even beyond. His wife, a very capable and courageous woman in her own right, was approached in 2008 by various PPP leaders including Zahir Ali Shah and Faryal Talpur for a run in politics. After they ran the idea by her uncle, Iftikhar Jhagra, they asked her to join and run on the NA- 1 seat against veteran Haji Ghulam Bilour. Mrs. Malik Saad politely declined the offer citing the need to focus on the wellbeing of her young family after such a huge personal tragedy.

She was subsequently approached by the ANP and PML-N, however her reply was the same. After returning from the US upon completing her Fulbright scholarship, she was approached again by Faryal Talpur to take the reins of the PPP’s women wing in KP, which she declined - again. The ANP offered her a central role, which she also refused. In short, Mrs. Malik Saad had/has her pick of the lot and could have easily gotten a Senate or any other seat in any party. Her honest reputation and capability along with her husband’s unquantifiable popularity would be a valuable addition to anyone.

She had declared her support for the PTI in 2011, but because of her occupation as a UN employee she cannot be politically active. She was asked by some in the PTI leadership to apply for a party ticket for Senate. After much convincing she agreed to do so, however the PTI handed over the ticket to Mrs. Samina Abid, wife of former Chief Secretary AJK Abid Ali and the sister of politician Salauddin Tanoli. Mrs. Abid was not only unimpressive, she also sorely lacked the ability to represent the party adequately, like most of the other aspirants for the ticket. Her selection caused great confusion and exposed glaring holes in the PTI’s setup, which has always claimed to run on merit.

At the time Mrs. Abid’s niece – Salauddin Tanoli’s daughter – was affianced to Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s son, a union that only very recently fell apart. Aside from that, another one of her nieces is daughter-in-law to PTI MNA and Pervez Khattak’s sister-in-law, Nafeesa Khattak. Also, there is a litany of other relatives of Pervez Khattak’s who occupy or have occupied different positions in the party thanks to him, not at the very least his son-in-law, nephews (including Nafeesa Khattak’s son), brother and cousin. Mrs. Abid is also alleged to have donated millions of rupees to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital as well as the party fund.

By going way beyond what any of the opposition parties have ever done, and handing out tickets for reserve seats and Senate to people with lots of money, the PTI lost out on a massive opportunity to strengthen the party.

Mrs. Malik Saad is - realistically speaking - one of less than a handful who may be able to beat Ghulam Bilour on NA-1. Her husband’s immense popularity coupled with her own ability to interact with the public make her a sure shot at winning the seat. That would, of course, all have been extremely unnecessary had she been allotted a Senate ticket in the first place.

Otherwise the only other option remains Zia Afridi, who in light of his newfound public profile might pose a challenge to the veteran Bilour. Nonetheless, it is difficult to gauge how people would respond to his candidacy.

Conclusion: Strongly in favor of Mrs. Malik Saad. In case she declines and decides to stay away from politics, Zia Afridi would be a viable alternative, provided the charges against him are dropped.

PK-1

Because of the ever-changing demographics of the inner city, NA-1 possesses a sizeable Afridi population. Now that of course does not mean that the PTI goes out and picks some random Afridi fellow from the area and have him run, but it does tell us about the opportunity that may have been lost with the incarceration of Ziaullah “Zia” Afridi. Granted, even if the charges are proven false, it would still be a tough task to undo the damage done because of his arrest. An alternative could be former ANP MPA, and the brother of slain MPA Alamzeb Khan, Aurangzeb. He was overlooked for the party ticket by the leadership who thought maybe they could capitalize on the assassination of Bashir Bilour by allotting the ticket to his nephew, former KPCCI Chairman and son of Senator Ilyas Bilour, Ghazanfar Bilour. That turned out to be a miscalculation and the potential disdain could very well be used to the PTI’s advantage. Aurangzeb, much like his brother, has a good relationship with the denizens of PK-1 and coupled with his personal vote-bank could fetch the PTI a very decent figure in the mid to high quintuple digits.


Conclusion: In the event Zia Afridi is not cleared of charges against him, strongly in favor of Aurangzeb Khan.

PK-2

PK-2 represents a tricky option in that there aren’t too many people who can pose a threat to Zahir Shah. Shaukat Ali Yousafzai’s poor showing may have put the party on the back foot in the area. Naib-Nazim Peshawar Syed Qasim Ali Shah could with lots of support help them through. Zahir Shah’s father Zafar Ali Shah was popular and consistently polled in very high numbers while his sister Rubina Khalid is a sitting Senator. There is no reason to say his son shouldn’t be able to replicate his father’s success. The incumbent Shaukat Ali is not even a native of the area and has on numerous occasions upset the public with his callous opinions, most notably, his reply that “these things happen” to the tragic deaths of MPA Israrullah Gandapur, MPA Imran Mohmand and the loss of life that took place in an attack on the latter’s funeral. All fingers point to an upset and there are no guarantees that Syed Qasim Ali Shah can pull off a significant victory, but the fact that he’s Naib–Nazim could very well be a feather in his cap.

Conclusion: Highly recommend giving the ticket to Syed Qasim Ali Shah.

PK-3

In light of the Javed Nasim fiasco and the tripartite alliance, the PTI will have to be on their toes in PK-3. Having beaten Haroon Bilour despite the untimely passing of his popular father, there could be a greater distribution of votes among parties and candidates than 2013. Because of his higher overall figures in electoral contests as well as his more significant public profile, it seems likely Haroon Bilour will be picked to represent the alliance on his father’s PK-3 seat. That would leave 2008 runner-up Muhammad Iqbal Mohmand without a home. Khalid Gul Mohmand may have polled higher in 2013, however much of that could be attributed to the JI’s own voters. Should he decide to run again under the JI banner, it is likely he rake in almost twice as much due to Maulana Ismail Darwesh’s absence under a tripartite agreement. That gives the PTI two options, one Muhammad Iqbal whose performance in 2013 could be blamed on Haroon Bilour riding on a wave of sympathy as well as the PTI’s own surge. The other Khalid Gul, whose electorate could - under the PTI banner, apart from the religious voters, also include Mohmand tribesmen who vote based on based communal lines.

Conclusion: Capitalizing on the religious vote-bank in the constituency could prove to be the difference; would recommend Khalid Gul as primary and Muhammad Iqbal as a back-up option.

NA-2


NA-2 may require that the PTI do a little wheeling and dealing. While it is true that Hameed-ul-Haq won by a huge margin, it still doesn’t paint a clear picture of his personal popularity. So far, he has come under a lot of criticism by members of his own party, including PK-5 MPA Yasin Khalil for being ineffectual in addressing the concerns of the people of his area. Another factor in his win was the extremely poor showing by Arbab Alamgir as federal minister. The people of the area are accustomed to his father, former CM Arbab Jahangir’s approachability and his patience in giving them time and listening to their problems. His son Arbab Zarak seems to be heading in the right direction politically. Even with his parents potentially under indictment, there are still many who appreciate Arbab Jahangir’s services and could very well be inclined to vote for his grandson. Under a tripartite alliance Zarak or his uncle Arbab Najeebullah may try their hand at running on both provincial and national respectively. One would expect Najeebullah to be the odds-on favorite to run, having already done so twice. Even here, the PTI could have two options. One is to try to convince Arbab Zarak to switch over. At the very least it would eliminate a potential threat on the PK-5 constituency. Flushed with cash, Zarak will be keen to whitewash the allegations of corruption that have plagued his family and the PTI might just do the trick. The other option is to allow Zarak to contest on the PK-5 constituency and have the young Tehsil Nazim Town 3 Peshawar, Arbab Mohammad Ali run on NA-2 or vice versa. Mohammad Ali is a cousin of Zarak’s, son of former PTI candidate for NA-2 Arbab Dost Mohammad, who didn’t get the opportunity to run after dying of cancer. His grandfather was former federal minister for sports and culture Col. Arbab Niaz who famously lost to Salim Khan Khalil, a middle-class man who campaigned without any money and on a bicycle. Arbab Niaz was also involved in the infamous Rawalpindi conspiracy. By having both Mohammad Ali and Zarak run on the ticket the Arbab family’s vote could be reunited to potent effect.

Conclusion: Would advise allowing Arbab Zarak to run on either NA-2 or PK-5 as a PTI candidate, with Arbab Mohammad Ali filling in the other vacant slot.

PK-4

PK-4’s aspirants all possess a solid support base, yet neither are really in a position to be the front-runners outright. While Ibrahim Qasmi has had consistently strong showings, it is unclear whether the Maulana Sami-ul Haq led religious party alliance, the MDM will contest again. Qasmi decided not to contest as an MMA candidate in 2002, which could mean that he doesn’t necessarily see eye to eye with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur Rehman, thereby dividing the vote and clearing the way for Aqil Shah to be fielded as an alliance candidate over Kifayatullah Orakzai. Apart from polling better numbers overall, Shah’s wife Farah Aqil is also a Senator for the ANP. Advisor to CM, Arif Yousaf is quite well known among the electorate, being the owner of a popular eatery that is something of a landmark in the locality. His constituents speak favorably of him but his electoral prowess has been somewhat wanting. His PML-N rival Arshad Qureshi has a vote-bank of 3,000 plus and has been disappointed of late - like his other PML-N colleagues from KP - over the central leadership’s lack of interest in its supporters. That disappointment could be advantageous for the PTI; Qureshi, who has contested 3 times and is yet to win, might be inclined with his 3,000 voters to back the PTI if an arrangement could be made possibly for the next local government election. Sticking with Yousaf could be a safe option as long as all the bases are covered.

Conclusions: Recommend having Arif Yousaf run again, but possibly convincing Qureshi to join, and offering him a Nazim or Naib-Nazim seat in exchange.

PK-5

The constituents of PK-5 are notoriously demanding when it comes to their representatives. So far, their MPA, Yasin Khalil has done very little to allay their grievances. Khalil has a long history of political gerrymandering and corruption. He first entered public awareness after being elected Tehsil Nazim Town 3, during which tenure his fiduciary powers were curtailed for embezzlement practices and a case was registered against him in court.

After becoming the PTI’s candidate for PK-5 and winning, Khalil was made part of CM Pervez Khattak’s cabinet, only to be removed along with Shaukat Ali Yousufzai for negligence and incompetence. Moreover, recently he was involved in trying to coerce winners of the local government elections to vote for an opposition candidate to be the Nazim of Peshawar. Because of his actions, Khalil was punished by the party hierarchy and banned from taking further part in party affairs ever again. Not that this made any difference on the result of the election, but Khalil’s affiliation with the PTI has proven to be a liability and in the face of a trilateral front, that is not something the party can afford.

As stated Arbab Zarak seems likely to try his luck on the constituency. Zarak is currently a Union Councilor with the PPP, and warded off multiple challengers mostly in the form of his family members. His cousin, interestingly also Tehsil Nazim for Town 3, Arbab Mohammad Ali might not be able to pull it off that easily, considering Yasin Khalil may - in all likelihood - try to play spoiler and divide the party vote. For that not to happen it would imperative to unite the Arbab family vote. Otherwise, their uncle Arbab Najeebullah would be more than willing to do that for them by teaming up with Zarak as part of the alliance in his bid for NA-2, or possibly even back Amanullah Haqqani while Najeebullah is accommodated in the Senate, something he has shown his willingness for.

Another viable option for the PTI could be former MPA and ANP dissident Atifur Rehman. Well liked and spoken of, Rehman has solid grassroots support and goodwill with him. While QWP’s Muhammad Ibrar and PML-N’s Farhad Ali polled higher though, but when taking into consideration ANP candidate Arbab Tahir’s 1,623, it would not be all that far-fetched to think Atifur Rehman could have potentially secured a combined tally of nearly 4,750 votes, which is about 600 more votes than Ibrar. While Atifur Rehman may not have the same resources at his disposal as the Arbabs do, he still has a significant following and a deep connection with the common voter.


Conclusion: Same as NA-2, but possibly convincing Atifur Rehman to join the party in exchange for a position in local government, or having him run as a candidate on PK-5 instead.

PK-6

PK-6’s voters like those of a number of other Peshawar constituencies are inclined to vote out anyone they find ineffectual. Current MPA, Fazal Elahi has heavily divided opinion with his full-scale assault-style attack on a PESCO power station. He hasn’t been seen or heard of much since then and feedback has been anything but positive. Even though the alliance candidates performed very poorly there is no reason to say that they’re bound to pull off a repeat. Alamgir Khalil has been something of a journeyman when it comes to politics, however he still possesses pockets of support and is a well-recognized figure in local politics. He could be the alliance’s candidate based on his performance dating all the way back to 1993, when the constituency used to be much larger than it is now. They have an equally able alternative in Ashfaq Khalil who made a strong case as a PPP candidate in the last election unless Raees Khan of Achar was to decide to flip over.

Raees may have misled a few people by pretending to run as a PML-N candidate, however his numbers are anything but misleading, especially when taking into account the PML-N’s paltry showing in 2008. To score 7,000 votes against the PTI’s barrage of support and above both religious parties, including former MPA and JI heavyweight Kashif Azam is no small feat. Granted, there is a possibility of the religious vote having been divided, but that could just as easily be said of every other religious party - which has its own dedicated following. Raees’s decision to run as an independent shows that he has real confidence in his ability to win. With the PTI’s support there’s little doubt Raees could pull off a comfortable win even if Kashif Azam were to somehow end up being an alliance candidate.

Conclusion: Would recommend giving ticket to Raees Khan, and possibly convincing Alamgir Khalil to support the PTI in case Ashfaq Khalil is chosen over him.

NA-3

Sajid Nawaz is probably one of the least heard of MP’s in all of Peshawar. And when considering he is an MNA, it makes his disappearing act all the more alarming. While feedback on the ground has been 50-50, Nawaz’s ability to retain his seat against a horde of political heavyweights is quite suspect. On the one hand he’s seen as someone who can truly connect and relate with the common man, while on the other hand, he seems stricken with apathy. Perhaps, its lethargy, or maybe he is simply out of his depth. He was almost saved by a whisker from being expelled, post local bodies - for not voting for the party.

It would be safe to say that he does not stand a chance of winning again, and it seems likely Haji Ghulam Ali might be the man to take him down. Noor Alam could be convinced to back Ghulam Ali and try his luck in the Senate, or it could


be the other way around, since neither is short of any funds to do so. The PML-N’s indifference will cost them significantly; Senator Iqbal Jhagra had his strongest showing yet in 2013 but it seems unlikely he’ll run again with his term not due to expire for another 5 and so years.

A change in strategy could ensure the PTI’s retaking the seat by appealing to the religious voters as well as the Shinwari tribe within the constituency. Clerical duo Pirzada Syedul Amin and his elder brother Pirzada Nabi Amin have consistently scored highly as independents. It could serve to the PTI’s advantage if that support were to come its way by fielding either of the two scholars, someone from within their clan or asking for their support. Not only would it allow the PTI to retake the constituency it could also drive a wedge or completely take away Ghulam Ali’s religious vote.

Conclusion: Devoid of any options the PTI should seek the Pirzada’s assistance; if willing either one, preferably Nabi Amin could be asked to run.

PK-7

Mehmood Jan won by almost twice as many votes here as the runner-up, JI’s Hashmat Khan. Whereas getting over 6,000 votes is nothing to be scoffed at, but the other two candidates who came in at 3rd and 4th also achieved similar numbers, two of whom are alliance party members. 2002 MMA MPA Hashmat Khan, being a member of the JI, which - like the PTI - did not run in 2008, will come into the competition as a strong contender. However, an alliance backed Chagarmatai or Rafiq Khalil (mostly likely Chagarmati) could easily be expected to outdo both Hashmat and incumbent, Jan, even if their vote banks were to combine. In that situation a compelling argument could be made for independent Kiramatullah Khalil who, as an independent took in over 5,000 votes, beating out candidates of major parties such as the ANP, QWP and PML-Q. The PTI would do well to seek Khalil out, who also has significant grass roots support. Coupled with the PTI’s own support it could serve to benefit Mehmood Jan or Khalil himself depending on Jan’s standing close to election time. Having already “resigned” once due to corruption, it’s hard to tell how well the voters of PK-7 will respond to Jan’s candidacy in 2018.

Conclusion: Recommend asking Kiramatullah Khalil to join and run. In the event he decides not to run, ask that he use his vote-bank to support Jan.

PK-8

The only constituency in Peshawar where the PTI lost - rather convincingly, to Arbab Akbar Hayat, who is arguably the PML-N’s highest profile member in the KP Assembly right now. He has a strong following in his constituency and is the odds on favorite to win in 2018. As with other PML-N candidates, Akbar Hayat too could be asked to defect in light of the PML-N’s apathetic behavior towards the province and its workers in KP. JUI-F leader Asif Iqbal Daudzai, who won in 2002 and came in as runner-up in 2013 will most likely be the alliance’s candidate for the constituency, opening up the field for 2008 winner Malik Tamash, who might be convinced to run as a PTI candidate. He polled significantly well in 2013, and seems like the only candidate capable of giving Akbar Hayat and Daudzai a run for their money. There is very little chance of 3rd placed Haji Jehanzeb, who ran as independent in 2008, of winning.

Conclusion: Get Arbab Akbar Hayat to switch over. In the event that doesn’t happen would highly recommend getting Malik Tamash to run as a PTI candidate.

PK-9

Long considered to be a king-maker - much like his father – in KP politics, there is very little doubt that in the absence of Arbab Ayub Jan, Iftikhar Jhagra stands a very strong chance of winning. Even after he rejoined the PPP just weeks before the election, he still managed to get over 10,000 votes. Should Ayub Jan’s son Usman decide to run there doesn’t seem to be any scenario where he can get the better of veteran Jhagra, who played a key role in getting Pervez Khattak elected as Chief Minister. It is no wonder that Imran Khan had earmarked Jhagra as his pick for CM.

He may have been upset when Jhagra chose to leave, due to the hostile behavior of the PTI old-guard, he could be very well be convinced to return to the fold. Realistically speaking, it seems hard to envision, especially when he can expect the full backing of the tripartite alliance at his disposal. Someone who caught people by surprise was Rashid Mehmood Khan of the PML- N; although his support could just as easily be a result of Jhagra’s cousin, Iqbal Jhagra’s profile and influence on the electorate as a PML-N leader. One thing is for certain though; Arbab Jahandad winning is an extremely difficult scenario to envision. His unsavory character, crude demeanor and nonchalant behavior has not resonated well with his constituents who similar to many other places, blindly voted for the PTI. Ironic that Jahandad went to Jhagra, hat-in-hand, to be allotted a ticket.

Conclusion: Would recommend that Iftikhar Jhagra be asked to rejoin the PTI. If not Rashid Mehmood remains a decent alternative.

NA-4

Arbab Zahir’s retirement has left a vacuum in the NA-4 constituency, which neither his siblings nor his cousins can fill. In 2013 he threw his weight behind the PTI’s rouge MNA, former KP Chief Secretary Gulzar Khan who managed 55,000 plus votes. Gulzar has since been singing a different tune, after refusing to join party Chairman Imran Khan into resigning his seat and taking part in his civil-disobedience rally. That of course rules him out from contesting again as a PTI candidate.

Gulzar will fancy his chances even in light of ongoing NAB investigations against him for corruption as CS, but with Zahir now completely out of the picture, someone else could be convinced to make the step up. Nasir Khan Musazai has been somewhat disillusioned with a number of decisions taken by the party hierarchy and in the face of the negative backlash against CPEC, running as a PML-N candidate on a national seat may end up costing him. For that reason Musazai might convinced to try his luck elsewhere, be it the alliance or the PTI. Another possibility could be to have Iftikhar Jhagra run for NA-4. Jhagra is popular in all the boroughs and the alliance too could ask him to run while someone else fills in the gap left in PK-9, presumably by Ayub Jan’s son Usman or someone Jhagra himself backs.

Conclusion: Will recommend getting Iftikhar Jhagra to run for NA-4 and Musazai on PK-9, or vice-versa.

PK-10

PK-10 consists mostly of Mohmand tribesmen and to win the PTI will require someone genuinely popular. It possesses strong pockets of ANP support and the 2008 winner - former Deputy Speaker Khushdil Khan – is very widely respected. 2013 winner and cabinet minister Shah Farman has already stated he won’t run again. Even if he had decided otherwise, it was highly improbable he would beat Khushdil again, much less with a trilateral front.

Khushdil seems the absolute favorite to win by a mile, more so in light of Shah Farman’s egregious negligence and dispassion to serve his constituency. Allegations of gerrymandering and corruption will not have helped his cause much either. Having Khushdil change allegiances to the PTI would increase the PTI’s chances of retaining the seat, manifold. The only other candidate that seems a viable contender is former PML-N candidate Amanullah Khan, who decided to quit the party early on and will most likely try his luck elsewhere. His vote-bank is almost entirely personal and with the right kind of support he might even be able to pull off a win against Khushdil.

Conclusion: Get Khushdil to join the PTI. In the event he refuses, which is likely, Amanullah Khan presents a very strong option.

PK-11

Peshawar’s last provincial constituency consists of completely rural territories with Chamkani arguably being its most developed neighborhood; both JUI-F’s Khalid Waqar and ANP’s Saqibullah have significant vote-banks. United together, either of them would be tough to beat. Khalid Waqar poses a better chance of being the alliances candidate, however he could just as easily be fielded on NA-4 if Jhagra decides to try his luck in the Senate.

The current incumbent, Syed Ishtiaq Burki of the PTI might not be able to get past the Urmar vicinity, which is home to mostly Burki tribesmen. The area has been plagued by law and order difficulties in addition to other infrastructure problems, with Chamkani being the safest and most developed in the constituency. The PML-N’s General Secretary in Peshawar as well as the head of the Mashogagar clan, Sifatullah Mashogagar came away with over 11,000 votes. He earned a great deal of good will from the public when he took it upon himself to negotiate a deal with PESCO bosses for easing up on the constant “load-shedding” that plagues so much of Pakistan.

The PTI would certainly stand a great chance of reelection if it convinces Mashogagar to switch sides, who’s made the power outage issues his number one priority. The inroads made by the PTI in that area vis-à-vis the municipal transport project and, of course, the PML-N’s abject lack of enthusiasm and concern could persuade Sifatullah to move to the PTI.

Conclusion: Recommend convincing Sifatullah Mashogagar to join and have him run for PK-11.

Written by

Dr. Jamshaid Khattak

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are purely personal and ultimately subject to speculation.

Sources:"General Election Data 1977 to 2013." Election Commission of Pakistan. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Dec. 2015.