MARDAN - Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl  (JUI-F) KPK General Secretary and former MNA Maulana Mohammad Qasim is facing a tough contest from Awami  National Party’s (ANP) Farooq Akram Khan, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Nawabzada Abdul Qadir Khan at National Assembly constituency NA-10, Mardan-2.

Though candidates of other parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are also in the run to secure the seat. The NA-10, Mardan-2 is counted traditionally the seat of JUI-F. In past late Maulana Ahmed father of Maulana Mohammad Qasim, who runs a madrassa in the area, won this seat and after his death Maulana Mohammad Qasim twice secured this seat. 

However, ANP and PPP have also vote bank in this constituency.  According to the 2008 election results, Maulana Mohammad Qasim got this seat by gaining 29,279 votes, PPP candidate Nawabzada Abdul Qadir Khan finished runner-up by grabbing 23,138 votes and ANP candidate Mohammad Farooq Akram Khan secured third position by getting 21,115 votes.

The JUI-F is utilising all its resources to win the seat as it has become a matter of survival for the party in the area but ANP and PPP are also leaving no stone unturned to won this seat.

ANP candidate Mohammad Farooq Akram Khan who is also district president of ANP has done a lot of developmental works in this constituency in the last five years and increased the party vote bank in these areas.

ANP office-bearers and workers claimed that they would win the upcoming elections in this constituency and would finish hold of JUI-F.  They said that in the upcoming elections, votes of religious parties would be divided and it would give them great benefit. 

The PPP office-bearers and workers are also hopeful of winning the seat because they also claimed that they did a lot of developmental works in this constituency.

Provincial constituencies of PK-26, 27 and 28 are included in this constituency.  For PK-26, a tough contest is expected to take place among PPP candidate Sher Afghan Khan, ANP Malik Ijaz, PML-N Iftikhar Khan Mohmand, though candidate of other parties, including JUI-F, PTI, JI are also in the run. Sher Afghan Khan of PPP had won the seat in 2008 elections.

For PK-27, tough contest is expected among PPP candidate Asad Khan, son of former senior minister Rahimdad Khan and ANP candidate Bahadur Khan though the candidate of JUI-F, JI, PML-N and PTI are also in the run.

For PK-28, tough competition is expected among ANP candidate Gohar Ali Shah, JUI-F’s candidate Hafiz Akhtar Ali who remind provincial minister of irrigation in Akram Khan Durani cabinet, PML-N’s Sikandar Khan, though candidates of other parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) are also in the run. Hafiz Akhtar Ali has twice won this seat. However, former provincial minister Hafiz Akhtar Ali is facing tough contest in the upcoming polls.

Though independent observers said that due to distribution of religious votes in both NA-10 and PK-26,27 and 28, ANP and PPP positions are strong until now and they may give upset if things don’t change in the coming days as PTI, JUI-F, PML-N, JI have also accelerate efforts to win these seats.

However, the contest will be a close one and the margin of winning and losing candidates will be thin.