PESHAWAR - A total of 33 aspirants, majority of them are independents, filed nomination papers in the by-election on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s seat PK-8, Peshawar-VIII, which fell vacant after the death of PML-N’s MPA Arbab Akbar Hayat on March 16 last.

This constituency mainly consisting of rural and semi-rural areas had been won by the PML-N’s Arbab Akbar Hayat in May 2013 general elections by defeating the JUI-F’s Asif Iqbal Daudzai, a former Provincial Minister for Information in the then MMA government in the province from 2002 to 2007.

Though, numbers of nominees, who are independently contesting, have a very little chance to win the constituency in the presence of old guards who are also in the field and busy in preparations.

Political pundits say that the real contest will be among the more active political parties in this area- which included PML-N, PPP, JUI-F and others.

In 2013 elections, of the total 11 provincial assembly seats for Peshawar, the ruling PTI had won 10 out of them except PK-8 constituency, which had been won by the late Arbab Akbar Hayat.

Thus, this time, there is a bright chance for the PTI to show its presence, they said.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, PPP’s Malak Tehmash, PML-N’s Arbab Waseem, JUI-F’s Asif Iqbal Daudzai, ANP’s Ijaz Ahmed and the PTI Malik Jahanzeb Khan and Shahzad Khan are the prominent among the nominees for the PK-8 seat of the KP Assembly.

Though, the PML-N candidate Arbab Waseem, a new face in politics, will certainly obtain sympathy votes, but his rival candidates are more experienced than him, who had tried their luck in the past from the same constituency. However, political observers say that the PTI may lead the race, if it persuades its allies-Aftab Sherpao-led QWP and the JI of Sirajul Haq to back its nominee in the by-election.

On other side, to elect the N-League nominee, Arbab Waseem as unopposed, the KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra has held a joint meeting with CM Pervez Khattak and the parliamentary leaders of PPP, JUI-F, PPP and JI, but it proved a futile exercise, because all these parties have formally started campaigning for their candidates, sources told The Nation.

Interestingly, the political parties either in the PTI-led coalition government in KP or in the joint opposition have fielded their own candidates instead of fielding joint nominees.

At one stage, both the ruling and opposition parties have agreed to field joint candidates, but there has been no breakthrough yet, sources said.

The PPP, after losing the 2013 elections badly in KP, is once again confident enough to make a comeback with more strength as it has won two by-elections for the provincial assembly in Chitral and Upper Dir districts.

Likewise, the ANP also claims that it is now re-emerging after a defeated in last general elections, saying the voters have now realized the fact that this Pakhtun nationalist party can serve them more efficiently like it had had from 2008-2013, when the ANP was in the power in the KP.

Similarly, claiming to have bright chances of victory this time, the JUI-F which had lost PK-8 seat in 2013 election with a small number of votes has actively started campaigning.

The PML-N is arguing that the opposition parties should support its candidate as the previous MPA belonged to the PML-N, but it did not work.

It is crystal clear now that these parties have no intention to withdraw their candidates from the run, as polling for the by-election on PK-9, Peshawar will be held on May 12 next.