CHARSADDA: The supporters of Pakistan Tahrik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Awami National Party’s Provincial President Aimal Wali Khan on Tuesday blow up horn to get maximum support for their leaders for Charsadda by-election scheduled on Sunday (Oct 16).
One-on-one contest is expected between Pakistan Tahrik e Insaf Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan and joint candidate of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Aimal Wali Khan on politically fertile NA 24 Charsadda-II where electioneering was in full swing.
The supporters of candidates started addressing corner meetings and holding public rallies to persuade voters in favour of their candidates. Besides public meetings and rallies, local leaders began door to door campaigns to get support from senior citizens and women voters. PTI and ANP were also eying on large baradaries, landlords and influential.
Aimal Wali Khan, who is the son of ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan was contesting by-election for the first time to a national assembly seat from his hometown Charsadda and was all set to give tough time to PTI chairman.
Political observers said a by-election in Charsadda would determine popularity of political parties and voters’ inclination for 2023 elections. The time will tell that whether ANP’s third generation would emerge victorious or PTI would regain its seat following acceptance of the resignation of MNA Fazal Muhammad.
The results of past elections showed that ANP had won the constituency for a record six times while JUI-F on three occasions and PTI only once. According to general elections’ results held from 1970 to 2018, this constituency was won three times by ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, twice by Khan Abdul Wali Khan and once by Begum Nasim Wali Khan. Maulana Hassan Jan Shaheed of JUIF had clinched victory in 1990 elections and Maulana Gohar Shah won it twice while PTI’s Fazal Muhammad Khan secured a victory in 2018.
In the 1970 election, ANP Chief Abdul Wali Khan emerged victorious after securing 34,359 votes while his wife Begum Nasim Wali Khan achieved victory on the ticket of Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) with 48,653 votes during the 1977 election.
Abdul Wali Khan regained the seat in 1998 elections after obtaining 63,185 votes.
However, Abdul Wali Khan lost to JUI-F’s Maulana Hassan Jan Shaheed in the 1990 elections after the latter bagged 66,452 votes, resultantly the former left practical politics. ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan was elected member of the national assembly from this constituency in the 1993 election with 56,164 votes and 1997 elections with 55,059 votes respectively.
In the 2002 general election, JUI-F’s Maulana Gohar Shah secured victory with 55,917 votes while ANP’s Asfandyar Wali again elected in 2008 elections after securing 38,835 votes. In 2013 elections, the seat was re-clinched by Maulana Gohar Shah of JUI-F with 53,610 votes and PTI’s Fazal Muhammad achieved victory in 2018 elections with 83,596 votes.
The literacy rate in the politically fertile constituency was relatively higher than NA-23 Charsadda-I where support of other political parties and large baradaris would matter. Most of its people are associated with government jobs, agriculture, trade and overseas employment and would exercise votes after analyzing performance of governments of both political parties.
The other contesting candidates are Mujeebur Rehman of Jumat e Islami and Sparlay Gorzang of Mazdoor Kisan Party. Election Commission of Pakistan has established about 384 polling stations including 196 for male voters and 154 for women voters besides 34 combined. As many as 242 polling stations were declared most sensitive and 142 sensitive. As many as 526,862 voters including 291,016 male voters and 235,846 female would exercise their right of franchise in a free and transparent manner. PDM candidate Aimal Wali was enjoying support from the Pakistan People Party, Qumi Watan Party, PMLN, JUIF and other PDM parties.
The PDM leadership had planned a big public gathering at Prang stadium on October 13 in Charsadda. Former Provincial Minister Sultan Muhammad Khan had announced support for Aimal Wali while his brother Rahim Khan formally joined ANP along with hundreds of supporters. (APP)