Electioneering fever peaks in Tribal Area-IV’s NA-43 ahead of polls

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PESHAWAR: As only one week is left in general elections, electioneering fever has reached to its peak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Tribal Area-IV constituency of NA-43 where 491,844 registered voters will exercise the right of franchise to elect candidates for two national assembly constituencies on July 25, 2018.

The total registered voters in NA-43 are 226,627 including 126,574 male and 100,053 female for whom 182 polling stations would be set up by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Out of these polling stations, 98 would be established for male, 75 for female and nine combined, according to KP ECP officials.

All the polling stations in NA-43 and NA-44 constituencies were being equipped with clean drinking water, shelters, electricity, chairs and other basic facilities for the convenience of the voters and polling stations.

As many as 18 candidates are flexing muscles for NA-43 including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Sardar Azam, former federal minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI), Noorul Haq Qadri Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Hazrat Wali, Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party’s Doulat Shah, Awami National Party’s (ANP) Saida Jan, Jamiat Ulama Islam-Sami’s (JUI-S) Atiqullah, Mutthaida Majlis Amal’s (MMA) Muhammad Ejaz and independents including Ahsanullah, Zarnoor Afridi, Saidgha Jan, Shahzeb, Shakeel Afridi, Shermat Khan, Abdul Raza Shinwari, Abdul Nawaz, Mohibullah Nawabzada Muhammad Shah and former Member National Assembly (MNA) Shah Geegul Afridi.

However, a one-on-one contest is expected between former Federal Minister Noorul Haq Qadri of PTI and former MNA Shah Geegul Afridi.

Shahgee Gul is being considered a strong candidate as he made significant development work in the constituency and would take credit of construction of Jamrud grid station, which was inaugurated by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during his visit to Khyber.

Afridi has sufficient personal vote bank in the constituency as evident of his victory in 2013 general election by obtaining 29697 votes as an independent candidate and is again posing a serious challenge to political rivals.

Noorul Haq Qadri is also a strong candidate as he remained busy in politicking during last five years in the area and would take advantage of PTI’s vote bank beside significant development carried out during his tenure as federal minister.

In 2008 General Election, he had won this constituency after securing 13876 votes against runner-up Muhammad Ibrahim Kokikhel 12548 votes. He also won this constituency in 2002’s general elections as an independent candidate after obtaining 9121 votes.

A great enthusiasm is being witnessed among tribal youths and young voters whose participation in public meetings and election campaigns is overwhelming and their votes would play a decisive role in election results.

The major problems of people of this constituency are unemployment, poverty, poor road infrastructure, lack of education and health services and clean water.