SAID ALAM KHAN

PESHAWAR - Two-time MNA Maulana Attaur Rehman, younger brother of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazal Rehman, is this time trying his luck in Senate elections being held today (Thursday).

The JUI-F, which had ruled the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for about five years under the banner of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a conglomerate of six different religious parties, has now a total of 17 members in provincial assembly. The JUI-F has fielded four candidates, including younger brother of Maulana Fazlur Rehman on general seat. Maulana Attaur Rehman, who had served as federal minister for tourism in the PPP’s last government, has bright chances to make it to the Senate of Pakistan this time.

Amid tight security arrangements, provincial legislators will elect 12 new senators, including seven on general seats, two each on technocrats and women reserved seat and one for minority, for which a total of 27 candidates are in the run.

Besides Maulana Atta, the JUI-F has awarded tickets to Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh on technocrat seat, Shafia Amjad on women reserved seat and James Iqbal for minority seat in the Upper House of Parliament from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Of 12 senators from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, whose six-year tenure will complete on March 11 this year, the JUI-F Senator Haji Ghulam Ali is also among them.

Maulana Attur Rehman did not retain the National Assembly seat from Lakki Marwat in the by-elections which his elder brother Maulana Fazl Rehman had won in 2013.

Born in July 1962, Maulana Attaur Rehman got his early education from his father late Mufti Mehmood, former chief minister of the erstwhile NWFP and founding chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Likewise, Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, another JUI-F candidate on technocrat seat, is a known businessman of Dera Ismael Khan and less famous in party’s politics.

However, he is stated to be an active member of the party since long. The JUI-F candidate for minority seat James Iqbal belongs to Christian family in Peshawar and is uncle of sitting MPA Askar Pervez.

The JUI-F is likely to withdraw its candidate on women reserved seat Shafia Amjad in favor of ANP’s under a deal to win votes for its candidates on general and technocrats seats in the Senate elections.