PESHAWAR: All major political parties have received a shocking electoral drubbing in their strongholds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the hands of independent candidates backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

With upsets marking Thursday’s general elections, the Awami National Party, Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Qaumi Watan Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party lost contests on their home turf.

Noted among also-rans was JUI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who contested election in his hometown Dera Ismail Khan (NA-44 constituency) but lost it to arch-rival and PTI-supported independent contestant Ali Amin Gandapur.

Mr Fazl was defeated by Mr Gandapur in the last 2018 general elections as well.

According to provincial spokesman for the JUI-F Maulana Abdul Jalil Jan, his party’s 12 members were elected to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in 2018 but it got one National Assembly and six PA seats in the 2024 polls. Noor Alam Khan was elected MNA from Peshawar in Thursday’s polls.

Fazl, Nawaz, Siraj, Hoti, Sherpao, Aimal routed in strongholds of their parties

The spokesman said the electoral defeat was a setback to the party as it expected 30-plus PA seats in the province.

“We have convened an emergency meeting of our executive committee to review the post-election situation,” he said.

The PML-N was also shocked at the defeat of party supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in its stronghold NA-15 Mansehra-cum-Torghar. He lost election to PTI-backed Prince Mohammad Gastasab Khan.

A local PML-N office-bearer told Dawn that the party’s leadership didn’t expect the defeat of Mr Sharif from Mansehra, while workers, too, were really disappointed with it.

ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan contested election from NA-25 ( Charsadda-II) but was routed by PTI-backed independent Fazal Mohammad Khan.

ANP central president Asfandyar Wali Khan did not contest the election.

His party’s central senior vice-president and former chief minister, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, was in the running for Mardan district’s NA-22 and PK-58 seats but lost election to PTI nominees Mohammad Atif Khan and Abdul Salam respectively.

Mr Hoti admitted the electoral defeat and resigned from his party’s office saying he took that decision in light of “public opinion.”

ANP provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak also lost election in PK-22 Buner despite victory from the constituency in 2008, 2013 and 2018 polls.

Likewise, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq contested election from NA-6 Lower Dir but remained unsuccessful. Independent candidate Mohammad Bashir Khan supported by the PTI defeated him.

The Jamaat won two provincial assembly seats from Bajaur tribal district.

The religio-political party also suffered a massive electoral defeat in its stronghold, Upper and Lower Dir districts. In the past elections, Malakand Division delivered most national and provincial assembly seats to the JI.

In 2018, its members, Inayatullah Khan and Siraj Ahmad, were elected MPAs from Upper Dir and Bajaur respectively as candidates of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitral, also a Jamaat member, was elected MNA from Chitral on the MMA’s ticket.

Inayatullah Khan won 2002 election from his provincial assembly constituency but didn’t participate in 2008 polls as his party boycotted polls. He, however, reclaimed the seat in 2013 polls and retained it in 2018.

The Qaumi Watan Party failed to win a single national or provincial assembly seat in its strongholds. Its central chairman, Aftab Ahmad Khan, was a candidate in NA-24 Charsadda-I but lost election to Maulana Gohar Ali Shah of the JUI-F. QWP provincial chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao also lost the election.

The Pakistan Peoples Party won four provincial assembly seats - three from Dera Ismail Khan district and two from Peshawar district – and two National Assembly seats one each from Dera Ismail Khan and Kurram tribal districts. However, its provincial president, Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha, suffered defeat in Thursday’s election.

The PPP marginally improved its PA strength.

In the 2018 elections, its only one National Assembly nominee, Sajid Khan Turi, was the winner. He contested election from Kurram tribal district. Mr Turi retained his seat in Thursday’s election.

A PPP election nominee from Dera Ismail Khan district also emerged as the winner.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2024

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