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MANSEHRA: A tough contest is expected among the PTI and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal in Mansehra’s NA-14 constituency on July 25 after the disqualification of PML-N nominee retired captain Mohammad Safdar.

The accountability court of Islamabad had disqualified Safdar from holding a public office after conviction in the Avenfield properties corruption case.

Elected MNA in 2013, he was among major candidates for the NA-14 constituency, which consists of Mansehra and Torghar districts.

The observers insist the real contest on July 25 will now happen between PTI’s Zargul Khan and MMA’s Mufti Kifaytullah.

Safdar’s elder brother and his covering candidate, Mohammad Sajjad is also in the race though as an independent contender. He is little known in the district for being new to politics. He remained the president of the district paramedical association during his service in the health department in the 90s.

Mohammad Sajjad said he would carry forward the political mission of his brother and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif after winning the election.

Local resident Mohammad Zahid said though the PML-N didn’t seem to be in the NA-14 electoral race anymore, Mohammad Sajjad could benefit from the sympathy wave for the Sharifs in the elections and thus, making an upset.

He claimed that the PTI was considered to be the frontrunner but the position of MMA’s Kifaytullah was also strong.

Another resident, Mohammad Adnan, said the PTI, MMA and Mohammad Sajjad as PML-N-backed candidate stood equal chance to win election.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018