PESHAWAR - The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has fielded a young candidate, Kamran Khan Bangash, for PK-77 Peshawar XII constituency for the upcoming general election to take on 14 rival candidates, some of them old-guards and a few new faces from major political parties.
The PK-77 Peshawar-XII is an urban constituency and was known as PK-2 before the delimitation. The constituency used to be a stronghold of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The late PPP leader, Syed Qamar Abbas, was voted to power from this constituency twice and remained a two-time provincial minister.
Syed Zahir Ali Shah, also from the PPP, won the seat in two consecutive general elections in 2002 and 2008. He lost the seat in the 2013 elections to Shaukat Ali Yousafzai of the PTI who had secured 22,932 votes. This time around, the PK-77 constituency will offer a tough contest as there are a total of 15 candidates in the field.
The contenders are Kamran Khan Bangash of the PTI, Syed Zahir Ali Shah (PPP), Maulana Khairul Bashar (Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal), Hassan Mehmood Jan (PML-N), Muhammad Umar Khan Mohmand (ANP), Muhammad Adeel (QWP), Bilal Muhammad (Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party), Haider Zaman (Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek), Saima Shehzad (Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan), Taif Jan (Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan), Abid Nawaz Durrani (All Pakistan Muslim League), Gul Rehman (Pasban Pakistan), Noor Hussain (Amun Tarraqi Party), Muhammad Nawab Ali and Naseer Hussain (independents).
Maulana Bashar, the MMA candidate, is a senior religious scholar while Muhammad Umar Mohmand of the ANP has briefly served as Peshawar district nazim in the past. The PK-77 constituency has a total of 1,38,831 including 78,055 male and 60,776female voters. The will have 338 polling stations including 196 for men and 142 for women.
The 30-year-old Bangash is a young and educated person with a passion for social service. He is a graduate in computer sciences from the Edwards College, Peshawar. Bangash recently qualified the Tehsil Municipal Official (TMO) examination, conducted by the Public Service Commission KP. A total of 42,000 candidates appeared in the exam and only 35 were declared successful. He was among the top scorers who qualified the test and the interview but preferred to join politics from the PTI platform over a grade-17 job and opted to contest on the PK-77 seat.
The PTI young aspirant has been associated with the PTI since 2006 in different capacities. He was head of the PTI social media in KP from 2007 to 2010; remained a member of the PTI National Youth Council from 2011 to 13; information secretary for PTI Peshawar in 2009, coordinator for the Insaf Doctor Forum (2010-12) and member of the Insaf Professional Forum 2010-18.
Bangash has served as a youth leader and remained a key member of the policy formulation group for the first-ever KP youth policy; organized medical and relief camps for Malakand’s internally displaced persons in 2009; acted as a coordinator for Charsadda in a flood relief programme under the Imran Khan Foundation (Pukaar) in 2010 and worked for Kalash (Chitral) cultural preservation plan as a volunteer with the KP culture department. The candidate has the experience of grassroots politics as he was elected member of the town council, Town-I (Peshawar city) and was ranked among most active members.
Talking to this scribe, Bangash said that PK-77 was a PTI stronghold and the electorates will prove by voting to him in the general election. He said that the last PTI government improved health and education facilities along with several other sectors. He pledges to expand the education and health facilities in his constituency if voted to power.
The young candidate said that his area needs more boys and girls colleges including second colleges shift, water filtration plants, sewerage system, parks, and youth empowerment and employment schemes. He also plans to make the Nishtarabad Hospital functional. Bangash promises to help implement youth, tourism and culture policies evolved by the previous PTI government if the party forms a government after winning the July 25 elections in the province.