KOHAT, March 22: Prospective candidates of political parties in Hangu district have so far restricted their election meetings to hujras (private guesthouses), while some of them have been demanding that elections should be held under the supervision of army in this volatile district due to threat of Taliban attacks.
Local people say that the decision by Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat to take part in the elections has brought a positive change in the political environment, but the threat of terrorism remains as usual.
It may be recalled that in 2008 elections, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan had forcibly taken away ballot boxes full of votes from Kahi, Shana Wari and Zargari areas and attacked a police station in Ghlo Chenna, while terming the elections un-Islamic.
The outgoing public representatives of the district include Haider Ali Shah (MNA) of Awami National Party, MPA from KP-42 Atiqur Rehman and JUI-F’s Mufti Syed Janan, who was MPA from KP-43, Hangu-II.
This time Atiqur Rehman has decided to take part in the elections from JUI-F platform. He was elected in 2008 elections on the ticket of PPP-Sherpao. His father, Ghaniur Rehman – who remained irrigation minister in Aftab Sherpao’s cabinet – was killed two years back by Taliban.
This year new entrants include Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and Sunni Supreme Council whose candidates are Maulana Khayal Zaman and Farid Khan, respectively. They would contest the elections on both the National and provincial assemblies’ seats.
Hazrat Mohammad Jalali of JUI-F, Haider Ali of ANP and Khayal Zaman of PTI are said to be the main contestants in coming election for NA-16, Hangu. From time to time the Hangu district remained dominated by militant groups, including that of Mullah Toofan, Maulvi Nabbi Hanfi and Zewar Mullah.
Sources said that the militants were active in the area and nobody was safe from them. Besides, the contestants would be required to take permission for launching open campaign through holding jirgas with militant groups.