MANSEHRA, July 5: The campaign for the by-election to the office of district Nazim and Naib Nazim of Mansehra, due on July 14, is now in full swing.

Only two panels of candidates are in the run after the withdrawal of nomination papers by JUI (F)’s Mufti Kifayatullah and Faiz Mohammad Khan, a cousin of senator Mohammad Azam Khan Swati.

One penal is of former senator Syed Qasim Shah in which the candidate for Naib Nazim is Shujaat Ali Khan, a lawyer by profession and son of a former district chief of the Jamat-i-Islami. The candidate for the slot of district Nazim in the opposite penal is Syed Ahmad Shah, son of former senator Syed Muzamil Shah who is a retired lieutenant commander of the Pakistan Air Force.

The candidate for Naib Nazim in Ahmad Shah’s penal is a local leader of JI, Syed Abdulber Shah Sherazi, who is also a lawyer by profession.

The penal of Syed Qasim Shah appears to have an edge over the penal of Syed Ahmad Shah as most of the people from the group of senator Mohammad Azam Khan Swati have switched over to the former’s penal.

Syed Qasim Shah has the support of former provincial minister, and now the spokesman for the independent group in the NWFP assembly, Shahzada Mohammad Gustasap Khan.

The Syed Ahmad Shah penal commands support of Sardar Mohammad Yousaf, an elder of the Gujjar tribe, and a former MNA and the provincial general secretary of the PML(Q).

Sardar Yousaf has a considerable vote bank in Konsh, Bhoga-rmang and Kaghan valleys. However, the political observers here believe that Syed Ahmad Shah might not bag all the votes of the Gujjar tribe.

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