Ali Muhammad Khan when elected MNA from NA-10 Mardan in 2013 general elections, he was an unknown political entity. After spending five years in the parliament and making some hard hitting speeches in the National Assembly, he became known in the political circles. He started to appear regularly in the news shows. He successfully defended the party and leadership for many years in the media.
But he is facing a serious challenge to get the PTI ticket to contest the July 25th general elections from his constituency old NA-10 (new NA-22). He was hoping to get the ticket without much opposition from the other candidates but he is finding himself in a completely different situation. PTI seems reluctant to field him again in this constituency. The party has not decided yet.
The main reason of this reluctance from the party leadership is said to be his absence from the constituency. The PTI voters are not happy with him wants somebody else to be fielded in this constituency. He was more visible on the news channels then in the constituency. The local PTI leaders are angry that he never concentrated on this constituency.
He is facing tough competition from former provincial minister Iftikhar Mohmand and veteran politician Sarfraz Khan. Sarfraz Khan wants to get party ticket for his grandson Amir Khan. Iftikhar Mohmand is most likely to replace Ali Muhammad in this constituency even though he joined the PTI very recently. He is experienced politician who served as provincial minister and won the elections couple of times for the provincial assembly.
The NA-22, which was previously NA-10, includes the Takht Bhai tehsil of Mardan district. This constituency consists mostly on rural areas. Ali Mohammad Khan had decisively won the seat by getting 46,531 votes in the 2013 general election and defeating frequent winner Maulana Mohammad Qasim of the JUI-F who polled 39,269. Other notable vote-getters in the election were ANP’s Mohammad Farooq Khan with 19,436 votes, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sultan Mohammad polling 19,107, PPP’s Nawabzada Abdul Qadir Khan getting 15,343 votes and PML-N’s Naseem Mohammad Khan obtaining 11,491 votes.
If Amir Khan isn’t given the PTI ticket to contest for the National Assembly, he may be compensated by asking him to compete for the provincial assembly. In that case, he would have to challenge not only former MPA Jamshed Mohmand, who is now in the PML-N, but also ANP’s Bahadur Khan, PPP’s Rahimdad Khan or his son Asad, and Jamaat-i-Islami/MMA’s Fazal Rabbani, a former provincial minister. Amir Khan, Bahadur Khan and Rahimdad Khan are close relatives as well.
Sarfraz Khan, now 96 years old, had once won this seat on the ticket of the PPP. His family joined the PTI early this year after Amir Khan and his cousins met with Imran Khan at Bani gala. Later on April 15, Sarfraz Khan’s family organized a big public meeting at Hathian village in Mardan district in a show of strength. Imran Khan was reportedly impressed with the gathering in the village. Subsequently, the family was hoping that Amir Khan would be getting the PTI ticket for NA-22 and it had started to mobilize its supporters in the constituency for contesting the election.
In case Iftikhar Mohmand gets the PTI ticket for NA-22 and Amir Khan is asked to contest for a provincial assembly seat, the party’s old guard could react negatively if not taken into confidence beforehand as both these candidates are relatively newcomers in the PTI even though they have their own vote-bank in the constituency. It would be a challenge to placate the old party workers and former PTI candidates, such as Adil Nawaz who polled the significant number of votes in the contest for the provincial assembly seat in May 2013 against Imran Mohmand and following his death in a suicide bombing against his brother Jamshed Mohmand in the by-election.
If the PTI decided to give a ticket to Ali Muhammad then PTI might offer provincial assembly tickets for both Iftikhar Mohmand and Amir Khan. Whether succeeded to get the ticket or not but Ali Muhammad Khan will learn a hard lesson of electoral politics that your presence in news studios is not enough to win over the support of your voters.
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17 July, 2019