LANDI KOTAL, Nov 27: As many as 60 candidates, including two former MNAs and a senator, have filed nomination papers for two National Assembly seats from the Khyber Agency.
Former MNA from Bara Maulana Khalilur Rehman was the first to submit his papers on Nov 25 for the NA-46 constituency. His younger brother Surat Khan submitted papers as his covering candidate.
Allama Noorul Haq along with his two covering candidates filed nomination papers for NA-45. The constituency comprises Landi Kotal and Jamrud tehsils of the Khyber Agency.
Senator Hamid Ullah Jan Afridi is contesting for NA-46 as a nominee of the Fata Grand Alliance which opposes extension of the Political Parties Act to tribal areas.
The JUI (F) and JI could not agree on fielding a consensus candidate for NA-45 where Mohammad Hasan of the JI is pitted against JUI candidate Mufti Ejaz.
In Bara, Ansaar-ul-Islam, a close ally of the JUI (F), is putting its weight behind local journalist Nasarullah Afridi against JI candidate Haji Awal Gul.
Surprisingly, the Lashkar-i-Islam, a rival group of the Ansaar-ul-Islam, did not field any candidate despite their leadership’s claims of having a large-scale support in Bara tehsil.
The ANP, PML (Q) and PPP have also fielded their candidates for both seats.
Malik Waris Khan of the PPP had to bring forth his graduate son Malikzada Zafar Iqbal when he himself could not file papers for lack of the required educational qualification. ANP provincial vice-president Imran Afridi had to field his nephew Saeed Afridi as a nominee of his party from Bara for the same reason.
Malik Zahir Shah of the PML (Q) also met with the same fate and could not file his papers.
The ANP has nominated Abdur Rahim from the NA-45 constituency.
Malik Darya Khan enjoyed a big support in his Zakhakhel tribe, which is the largest Afridi tribe in Khyber agency.
His elder brother Ajab Khan, who was the runner-up in the 2002 election, has filed his papers as the ANP covering candidate from NA-45.
The list also includes the name of Zahid Khan, a nephew of Haji Ayub Afridi. Mr Afridi had won the 1988 election from the lone Khyber Agency seat for the National assembly.