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ABBOTTABAD: Sardar Shamoon Yar Khan, the eldest son of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, will most likely be the frontrunner in the PF-45 by-election on the PML-N ticket. The seat fell vacant after Mr Mehtab was made KP governor. Mr Shamoon had won the PF-45 seat in 2008 after Sardar Methab vacated it.

Two other names from Methab’s family are making rounds as likely candidates, including Sardar Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan, the first cousin of the governor and his son-in-law Sardar M Fareed. The seat is being won by Mr Mehtab or his nominee since 1985.

Majority of people Dawn talked to favoured candidacy of Mr Shamoon, who according to them is a ‘polished’ man with some inherited qualities of his father.

They said that Shamoon had become politically matured as he always remained with his father during election campaigns and public meetings. “He knows how to serve people and liaise with government officials,” they said.

The people said that Sardar Shamoon was a cool and calm person and had also spent quite some time in KP assembly after 2008 elections.

However, they said he also made mistakes which annoyed their voters, resulting in a drop in support, which was witnessed in the 2013 elections. Sardar Methab could get only 27,806 votes in 2013 elections against 38,059 in 2008.

They said that there were some other reasons which damaged the vote bank of Mr Methab in the Hazara region, including the renaming of the province, and Abbottabad riots in which seven persons were killed over 100 injured. Moreover, PTI’s emergence on electoral scene with strong impact also dented Mr Mehtab’s public support. Mehtab lost the national assembly seat from Abbottabad in 2014 election to the PTI nominee.

However, people said with political maturity and vision, Sardar Mehtab’s nominated candidate would surely retain the PF-45 seat.

Zakir Qureshi, a PML-N worker, remarked that, “we always follow the decisions of “Sardar Sahib” and it will be his sweet choice to nominate anyone from Shamoon, Ishtiaq or Fareed, for the PF-45 seat”. He said that if he was asked to comment on the choice of the candidate then he would propose Shamoon as he was best successor to Mehtab among the available lot.

Mr Qureshi said Sardar Mehtab had given them identification. “Mr Mehtab is a man of principal, has never switched his loyalties and always stood rock solid by his party leadership in times of troubles,” he added. He said that KP governor always convinced his opponents through logic and believed in principals.

Sardar Methab’s political career spans over more than 30 years, starting with his becoming member of the then NWFP assembly in 1985. He also won the seat in 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1997. Mehtab missed the 2002 general elections as his government was ousted by military ruler General retired Pervez Musharaaf. He was made senator in 2003.

He again jumped into political arena and won both seats from Abbottabad by defeating his archrival Amanullah Khan Jadoon in 2008 elections.