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LAKKI MARWAT, April 16: Electioneering has gained momentum in the district as candidates have accelerated their efforts to get support of the local elders in the upcoming general elections.

A tough contest is expected between the candidates of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Saifullah brothers. JUI-F has fielded its central chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for the sole National Assembly seat, NA-27, in the district against Salim Saifullah Khan, who is also backed by PPP, PML-N, JUI-S and JUI-N.

JUI-F has fielded strong candidates for three provincial assembly seats in the district. PPP provincial president Anwar Saifullah Khan is running for PK-74 and PK-75 while PML-N has awarded ticket to Akhtar Munir Marwat, an ally of Saifullah brothers, for PK-76.

The JUI-F candidates for provincial assembly seats include Anwar Hayat Khan for PK-74, Malik Noor Saleem Khan for PK-75 and Munawar Khan for PK-76.

However, observers say that some independent candidates can also produce surprising election results. Gul Aslam Khan Begukhel and Hidayatullah Khan of Achu tribe, Johar Mohammad Khan of Aba Shaheedkhel group and Eng Arifullah Khan of PTI are also in the run for PK-76.

Another PTI candidate Col (retired) Ameerullah Khan is in the race for NA-27. Observers say that these aspirants can get benefit from the rivalry of JUI-F and Saifullah brothers.

They say that Johar Muhammad will cut the votes of Munawar Khan while Achu tribe's candidate will affect the vote bank of PML-N aspirant Akhtar Munir. PTI has not established a strong political base in the district, they add.

The candidates are vying to get the support of local elders, prominent religious scholars and former representatives of local government.

Munawar Khan of JUI-F and his brothers have approached Advocate Arifullah Khan Meenakhel, a close aide of Saifullah brothers and former district deputy nazim. Mr Arifullah is the cousin of Akhtar Munir, who is contesting election for PK-76 against Munawar Khan.

According to sources, Munawar Khan has invited Arifullah and his supporters to join JUI-F and extend support to the candidates of religious party in the elections.

Sources close of former nazim are of the view that positive response by Arifullah will enhance troubles for both Akhtar Munir and Saifullah brothers.

Similarly, the elders of Abdulkhel and Masha Mansoor union councils have assured Saifullah brothers of their support in the elections.

Former MNA Humayun Saifullah Khan has also held successful meetings with Pir Masoom Jan Zakori, Maulana Habibullah Haqqani of JUI-S, Maulana Mufti Mohammad Khan Haqqani of JUI-N and other renowned religious scholars recently to help his brothers to win the elections.