ATTOCK, May 7: The presence of Major (Retired) Tahir Sadik Khan in the contest for NA-57 and NA-58 has changed election dynamics in both constituencies, which were initially believed to be a battleground for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Muslim League-N.
In NA-57, Mr Tahir of the Major Group is contesting the elections independently while Malik Amin Aslam and Sheikh Aftab Ahmed have been fielded by the PTI and the PML-N respectively. Each of these candidates is confident of his victory from NA-57, which includes two tehsils of Attock and Hazro.
The 2008 elections were a close contest between Sheikh Aftab Ahmed (PML-N) and Malik Amin Aslam (independent), which the former won by 250 votes. In 2002, Mr. Amin had contested from the PML-Q, and had won with 39,735 votes against PML-N’s Sheikh Suleman Sarwar (son of Mr. Aftab), who bagged 23,866 votes.
However in the current elections, the two traditional rivals Mr Amin and Mr Aftab would also have to face competition from former district nazim Tahir Sadik Khan.
Mr Tahir is the brother-in-law of PML-Q’s chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and is contesting the seat for the first time. He had fielded his daughter, Eman Waseem, in the 2008 elections as an independent, but she was unable to give a strong competition to her opponents.
Therefore, Mr. Tahir decided to contest himself from NA-57. Despite the present hype surrounding the PML-N and the PTI, Mr Tahir is confident he would win the seat, believing that the public would not ignore his eight-year services as district nazim.
The Pakistan People’s Party workers are not very enthusiastic as the party has fielded Pakistan Aman Party’s chief Haji Gulzar from NA-57. However, Mr Gulzar does not enjoy the support of PPP’s voters since he does not belong with the party and is considered an outsider.
Similarly in NA-58, the PTI and PML-N candidates would face competition from Mr Tahir, who is hopeful of upsetting both parties with the support of PML-Q activists in the area.
The PTI has fielded Malik Suhail while PML-N has awarded the party ticket to Malik Itabar Khan.
In the previous election, Ch Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q defeated Mr Suhail who had contested from the PML-N but later joined the PTI a year back after developing serious rifts with the party leadership. Mr Itabar Khan is contesting the National Assembly seat for the first time, though he had won the Provincial Assembly seat, PP-19, in 2008 from PML-Q before joining the PML-N.
Mr. Elahi is not contesting from NA-58, as he has preferred contesting from NA-61 (Talagang, Chakwal). However, no PPP candidate has been fielded and the party’s voters would support a candidate from another party.