PESHAWAR: The 2018 general election has turned two close friends of recent past – Amir Muqam of the Pakistan Muslim League-N and Nasir Khan Musazai of PTI – into political opponents on the NA-29 Peshawar-III where tough electoral battle is expected on July 25.
Musazai, who remained provincial information secretary of the Pakistan Muslim League-N and a close friend of Amir Muqam some eight months ago, is posing challenge to his old companion on NA-29 Peshawar-III. He contested by-election for the NA-4 Peshawar from platform of the PML-N against Arbab Amir Ayub of PTI in October 2017 and later joined Tehreek-e-Insaf two months earlier after his meeting with Imran Khan.
A close aide of Amir Muqam in the past, Musazai had been preferred over senior leaguers due to his association with the party and was awarded the PML-N ticket on several occasions for general and by-elections from NA-4 Peshawar (now NA-29) constituency.
Muqam had specifically sanctioned schemes of the gas supply and electrification for the constituency and made his brother Dr Ibadullah Khan the election campaign incharge for Musazai in a bid to win the bye-election held in October last year.
The by-election in NA-4 was easily won by PTI’s Arbab Amir Ayub, brother of late ANP lawmaker Arbab Zahir, with 45,774 votes. Former KP Assembly speaker Khushdil Khan stood runner-up with 24,874 votes while Nasir Musazai who contested on the PML-N ticket bagged 24,790 votes.
The by-election was necessitated after the death of PTI’s estranged MNA Gulzar Khan. Asad Gulzar, son of the late MNA Gulzar Khan, had also contested the said by-election on the PPP ticket and bagged 13,000 votes. The delimitation had brought significant changes in the NA-4 constituency and Arbab Amir Ayub is now contesting from the NA-28 Peshawar-II on PTI ticket, leaving Nasir Musazai to contest election from the NA-29.
Musazai had joined PTI with the hope of getting ticket of a party and his plan worked. Before joining PTI, Musazai had strongly criticised PTI leadership in the said by-election and highly praised the PML-N leadership. Musazai being a PTI candidate is now pitted against his former leader Amir Muqam in NA-29 and is posing a challenge to him.
Muqam who served as the federal minister and the adviser to the former prime minister would have to cash on the massive development work carried out by him in this constituency especially in the gas and the electricity head. Muqam has strong roots in the constituency besides significant vote bank of the PML-N and is considered a strong candidate.
The other candidates in the run include Arbab Kamal Khan (ANP), Naeem Jan (MMA), Muhammad Shafiq (TLP) and Ghazanfar Ali (PPP) who are believed to strong candidates and can give tough time to PMLN and PTI on July 25.
It may be mentioned here that during delimitation of 2018, NA-29 (Peshawar-III) acquired areas from three former constituencies namely NA-2 Peshawar-II, NA-3 Peshawar-III and NA-4 Peshawar-IV. The major areas of Peshawar included in NA-29.
The problems faced by dwellers of this constituency are unemployment, electricity load shedding, poor roads infrastructure, lack of access to clean drinking water, solid waste management, illiteracy, poverty and inadequate health facilities in public sector hospitals and BHUc in the area.
Any candidate with solid programme for solution of these issues besides social welfare programes can get a clear edge over others on July 25, 2018.