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PESHAWAR: The returning officers allotted election symbols to candidates here on Saturday for the 19 national and provincial assembly seats of the provincial capital.

They later released Form 33 showing the names and symbols of candidates for the five national and 14 provincial assembly seats.

Among the candidates are seven women and 56 independents.

All major political parties have fielded candidates for these seats. They include PTI, PML-N, ANP, PPPP, Qaumi Watan Party, and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, an alliance of religious parties, including Jamaat-i- Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl.

Some constituencies have the candidates of the Pakistan Muslim League, Awami Muslim League Pakistan, Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party, Tehreek Labaik Pakistan and Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek as well.

In one National Assembly constituency, NA-27 Peshawar-I, three women are in the electoral arena. Former adviser to then prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Ms Asma Alamgir, has been awarded ticket by the PPPP, while former MPA Sobia Shahid is contesting election on the PML-N ticket. Ms Sidra Qadeem has filed nomination papers as an independent candidate.

They will face a tough challenge from PTI candidate and former PPP MNA Noor Alam Khan and former senator and MMA candidate Haji Ghulam Ali.

Another women candidate is Ms Yasmeen, who is contesting election on the Tehreek Labaik Pakistan symbol, crane, in NA-31.

In that constituency, veteran politician Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of the ANP, Shaukat Ali of the PTI, Akhunzada Irfanullah Shah of the PPP, Mohammad Nadeem of the PML-N and Sidiqur Rehman Paracha of the MMA are also the candidates.

Former MPA Nargis Sameen of the QWP is contesting election in PK-72, Saima Shehzad of the TLP in PK- 77 and independent candidate Surraya Shahab in PK-79.

Forty-two candidates have been allotted election symbols in the five National Assembly constituencies of Peshawar, including10 in NA-27, six in NA- 28, five in NA-29, eight in NA-30 and 13 in NA-31.

A total of 176 candidates were allotted symbols for 14 provincial assembly constituencies of the provincial capital.

Seventeen candidates are contesting election in PK-76 and PK-78 constituencies each.

Former PTI minister Shah Farman has been in the running in PK-70 and PK-71.

He will face former deputy speaker of the provincial assembly Khushdil Khan of the ANP and Mohammad Shafiq of the TLP in PK-70. Mohammad Shafiq is contesting election in NA- 28, where he has been facing PML-N’s Amir Muqam, Arbab Kamal of the ANP and Nasir Khan of the PTI. A total of 10 independent candidates are in the running for NA seats and 56 for PA’s.

PK- 67 and PK-76 have the highest number of independent candidates i.e. eight each.

An official said some election symbols were almost similar, including PTI’s bat and ice cream of independents.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2018