PESHAWAR: Thirty-two candidates will run in the Sept 25 by-elections for four National Assembly general seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan contesting polls in all those Charsadda, Mardan, Peshawar and Kurram constituencies.

The final lists of contestants were issued on Monday by the relevant returning officers, who also allotted election symbols to them.

According to them, the NA-22 Mardan and NA-24 Charsadda seats have four candidates each, NA-31 Peshawar eight and NA-45 Kurram 16.

Those seats along with one reserved for women had fallen vacant last month after the National Assembly speaker accepted the resignations of the respective members from the PTI.

The NA-22 candidates include former prime minister Imran Khan, Mohammad Qasim of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Abdul Waseh of the Jamaat-i-Islami and independent Mohammad Sarwar, while Mr Imran, Aimal Wali Khan of the Awami National Party, Mujeebur Rehman of the Jamaat-i-Islami and independent Sparlay Mohmand are running for the NA-24.

Polling in Charsadda, Mardan, Peshawar and Kurram to be held on Sept 25

Among the NA-31 candidates are Mr Imran, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of the ANP, Mohammad Aslam of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Saeedullah Khan of the Rah-i-Haq Party, Abdul Qadir of the Tehreek-i-Jawanan Pakistan, former MNA Shaukat Ali, who had vacated that seat and is a covering candidate of Mr Imran, his namesake, who filed nomination papers as an independent contestant, and another independent, Emran Khan.

Haji Ghulam Bilour, who had won the National Assembly seat from the area five times, had lost the 2018 general elections to PTI’s Shaukat Ali. He had also lost to Mr Imran in the 2013 general polls but won the seat in by-election, which was held after the PTI chief vacated it.

The candidates for NA-45 Kurram election are Mr Imran, Jamil Khan of the JUI-F, Sher Mohammad Khan of the Jamaat-i-Islami, former MNA Fakhar Zaman, who is the covering candidate of Mr Imran, and independent candidates Mohammad Zahir Shah, Sarfaraz Khan, Abdul Khaliq, Shah Nawaz Khan, Khalilur Rehman, Abdul Qadir, Mohammad Shoaib, Sadiq Khan, Jahanzeb, Niaz Badshah, Eid Gul Mengal and Saifullah Khan.

The by-election returning officers are Mardan’s district election commissioner Ziaur Rahim for NA-22, deputy director of the Provincial Election Commission Mohammad Imran for NA-24, deputy director Abdul Qadir for NA-31 and district election commissioner of Mansehra Mohammad Ishaq Khan Marwat for NA-45.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Election Commissioner Mohammad Farid Afridi, who is the returning officer for a vacant seat reserved for women from the province, released list of three candidates, including former MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan, who had vacated the seat by resigning, Roheela Hamid and Mahvesh Ali Khan.

The seat was vacated by the PTI, so it will be filled by one from the priority list provided by the party.

Ms Shandana, who is atop the priority list, is likely to be declared MNA-elect on that seat.

The ECP has already banned the posting and transfer of government officers as well as announcement of development schemes in those districts and constituencies, respectively.

It has also given magisterial powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure to the district returning officers and returning officers appointed for by-polls. They will exercise the powers of magistrate (first class) in respect to different offences mentioned in the Elections Act’s sections 169 and 171 and will summarily try people for those offences.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2022

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