SWAT: In the heart of Swat district, NA-3 stands as an important constituency as it plays a pivotal role as the urban centre and a financial hub of the entire Malakand division.

This electoral battleground has witnessed a historic clash of political heavyweights including former prime ministers Imran Khan and Shehbaz Sharif, former governor Mian Gul Aurangzeb and former federal minister Murad Saeed, each leaving his imprints on the district. However, both the former prime ministers Imran Khan and Shehbaz Sharif could not succeed in this constituency.

As the February 8 elections approaches, the constituency is set for a showdown featuring 12 candidates, each aiming to secure people’s mandate. Notable contenders include PML-N’s Wajid Ali Khan, PPP’s Prince Shehryar Ameerzeb, independent candidate Salimur Rehman associated with PTI, ANP’s Dr Sher Baz Khan, JUI-F’s Dr Qaiser Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Akhtar Ali Khan and PTI-P’s Usman Ghani.

Three-way contest expected in the constituency

The significance of NA-3 extends beyond its political dynamics because it serves as district and divisional headquarters for Malakand region. Hosting crucial administrative offices such as those for police, mines and minerals, forest, Pesco, and SNGPL, the constituency is at the forefront of regional governance.

Political observers anticipate fierce competition among Wajid Ali Khan, Salimur Rehman and Prince Shehryar. The outcome of the contest will shape the political landscape of Malakand division.

With a substantial electorate of 462,681 registered voters, comprising 251,365 males and 211,325 females, the constituency is gearing up for a robust democratic exercise. To facilitate the voting process, 309 polling stations and 1,026 polling booths will be set up in the constituency.

In the 2018 elections, PTI candidate Salimur Rehman secured victory with 68,280 votes while PML-N president Mian Shehbaz Sharif and PPP’s Prince Shehryar Ameerzeb claimed second and third positions, respectively.

The 2013 elections saw PTI’s Murad Saeed emerging victorious with 88,513 votes, followed by PML-N’s Syed Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha and JUI-F’s Maulana Nizamuddin.

In 2008 elections, ANP’s Muzaffarul Mulk Kaki Khan clinched the constituency with 19,860 votes. Independent candidate Prince Adnan Aurangzeb secured second position with Salimur Rehman of PPP following closely in third place.

In the 2002 polls, Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal’s Qari Abdul Baayes took the lead with 65,608 votes, followed by PML-Q’s Prince Adnan Aurangzeb with second position and PTI chief Imran Khan secured third position.

Including Mingora city, Salampur Murghazar, Brikot Landakey and central Kabal, NA-3 is a political battleground and a microcosm of diverse communities and interests.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2024

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