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By-elections: A glance at the three hot seats

Updated August 22, 2013


File photo/AFP
File photo/AFP

Following is a glance at NA-1 (Peshawar-I), NA-48 (Islamabad-I) and NA-237 (Thatta-I).

NA-1 (Peshawar-I)

NA-1 is among the four seats spanning over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Peshawar district. It is mainly inhabited by Pashto, Hindko and Persian speakers and is also home to a small number of members from religious minority communities. The seat is viewed as an ANP stronghold and mainly features the Bilours as contenders from the party.

In the May 2013 general elections, NA-1 (Peshawar-I) was won by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan who chose to retain his NA-56 seat from Rawalpindi and on which he had defeated Hanif Abbasi of the PML-N. On NA-1, Khan defeated former federal minisrer and Awami National Party leader Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour.

Major contestants for NA-1 are Ghulam Bilour and PTI’s Gul Badshah.

ANP leader Ghulam Bilour. — File photo/AFP
ANP leader Ghulam Bilour. — File photo/AFP

Moreover, a disgruntled leader of PTI, Samad Mursaleen, is also contesting as independent candidate in order to protest against the awarding of ticket to Badshah. The PTI has already terminated Mursaleen’s basic membership.

The seat fell vacant after PTI chief Khan, who had won from three National Assembly constituencies in the May 11 general elections, decided to retain a seat from Rawalpindi and vacated the two others.

During the general elections, he had defeated Bilour with a margin of over 65,000 votes.

In the by-elections, ANP enjoys the support of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F and Pakistan Peoples Party whereas the PTI candidate is supported by Jamaat-i-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party.

The seat was won in 2002 by MMA’s Shabbir Ahmed Khan with Usman Bashir Bilour of ANP coming second. In 2008, the seat was won by ANP’s Ghulam Ahmed Bilour with PPP’s Ayub Shah as runner-up.

NA-48 (Islamabad - I)

The constituency comprises mostly of the federal capital’s urban area.

In the May 2013 elections, NA-48 was won by PTI's Javed Hashmi who defeated the ruling PML-N’s Anjum Aqeel Khan. Hashmi, however, vacated the seat in order to retain the seat he won in his home constituency of Multan – NA-149.

In today’s by-elections, PTI’s Asad Umar is running for NA-48 with the backing of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).

PTI leader Asad Umar. — File photo
PTI leader Asad Umar. — File photo

Umar's main rival in the contest is Chaudhry Ashraf Gujjar Advocate of the PML-N, but for most of the period, Gujjar had been attempting to retain the party ticket that had been challenged by Anjum Aqeel Khan who won the seat in 2008 from the PML-N’s platform.

The PML-N finalised the decision for Gujjar’s candidacy just eight days before the by-polls, resulting in a drawback for the candidate whose main opponent Umar spent a month on campainging.

The third major candidate in the run is PPP’s Faisal Sakhi Butt who secured only 9,178 votes in the May 11 elections.

It is pertinent to mention that the PPP has never won a seat from this constituency in the past.

In 2002, Mian Muhammad Aslam of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal won the seat and the runner-up was PPP’s Dr Babar Awan. The seat was won by Anjum Aqeel Khan in 2008 and PPP’s Syed Israr Hussain came in second.

NA-237 (Thatta-I)

The constituency comrpises the areas of Thatta, Mirpur Sakro, Gharo, Dhabeji and Keti Bunder talukas and is considered a family bastion of the Shirazis.

In the May 2013 general elections, the NA-237 seat for Sindh’s Thatta district was won by PPP’s Sadiq Ali Memon against his chief opponent Syed Riaz Husain Shah Shirazi.

Memon had been conditionally allowed by a court to contest in the elections until his petition relating to his dual citizenship decided his fate. He had won the May 11 election by a slim margin of some 2,700 votes against Riaz Shirazi of the then independent Shirazi group.

In today’s by-polls, Shamsunnisa Memon, the mother of Sadiq Memon, is PPP’s candidate contesting against Riaz Shirazi, who is now standing from the platform of the PML-N.

Local party cadres call Shamsunnisa Memon a person unknown and unheard of in politics and call her nomination tantamount to wooing a strong Memon vote.

In 2008, the NA-237 seat for Thatta was won by Dr Abdul Wahid Soomro of PPP with Riaz Shirazi, who at the time stood from the PML-Q platform, as runner-up. Moreover, in 2002, Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Shirazi won the seat with PPP’s Wahid Soomro coming in second.