PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Awami National Party (ANP) Provincial President Aimal Wali Khan are vying in the by-election for the politically fertile national assembly constituency (NA-24) Charsadda-II scheduled to be September 25.
Following completion of scrutiny of nomination papers of the nine candidates including PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan and ANP Provincial President Aimal Wali Khan by the returning officer, now all eyes are on NA-24 Charsadda-II where one-on-one contest is expected between the two leaders.
Aimal Wali Khan, who is the son of ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan and a joint candidate of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is contesting the by-election for the first time to a national assembly seat from his hometown Charsadda and is likely to give tough time to the PTI chairman.
History of the past elections revealed that ANP had won the constituency for record six times while JUI-F three times and PTI only once.
Details of general elections held from 1970 to 2018, this constituency was won three times by ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, two times by Khan Abdul Wali Khan and once by Begum Nasim Wali Khan. JUI-F’s Maulana Hassan Jan Shaheed had clinched victory in 1990 elections and Maulana Gohar Shah won it twice while PTI’s Fazal Muhammad Khan secured a victory in this constituency in the general elections 2018.
In the 1970 election, ANP Chief Abdul Wali Khan emerged victorious after securing 34,359 votes while his wife Begum Nasim Wali Khan secured victory on the ticket of Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) with 48,653 votes during the 1977 elections.
Abdul Wali Khan had regained the seat in the 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 1993 elections with 56,164 votes and 1997 elections with 55,059 votes respectively.
In 2002 general election, JUI-F candidate 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 on ticket of JUI-F with 53,610 votes and PTI’s Fazal Muhammad achieved landslide victory in 2018 elections with 83,596 votes.
Former Chairman, Political Science Department, Prof Dr AH Hilali said that by-election in Charsadda on one side would determine popularity of the party and voters’ inclination for 2023 elections on the other side.
He said 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 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.
The contesting candidates started attending marriages and funeral prayers and addressing corner meetings to persuade maximum public support. The electioneering campaign would heat up as polling day comes nearer in Charssadda.
The others candidates in run are: Azizullah Khan, Falak Naz, Fawad Ahmad, Fazal Muhammad Khan, Mujeebur Rehman, Shakeel Bashir Khan and Sparlay Muhammad. They have started addressing corner meetings to persuade voters.