PESHAWAR - Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf emerged as the strongest party in the final phase of local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday after polls for nazim and naib nazim were held in the province’s 23 districts.

PTI grabbed 10 districts including Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, DI Khan, Karak, Tank, Haripur, Torghar, Abbotabad and Battagram.

Jamaat-i-Islami, which is the ruling PTI’s coalition partner in the KP government, won in Chitral, Buner, Upper and Lower Dir, while the PML-N succeeded in Shangla, Mansehra and Swat districts.

The Pakistan Peoples’ Party was able to win in Malakand and Karak, while the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazl succeeded in Kohat and Lakki Marwat. Awami National Party win independently in Swabi only while along with tripartite alliance its candidate also took Mardan seat.

The tripartite alliance of Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazl and Pakistan Peoples Party boycotted the nazim and naib nazim elections in the district and three towns of Peshawar but did not boycott such elections in Town-4 of Peshawar and some other districts where the alliance had sufficient number of councillors to form governments. Elections were not held in Kohistan and Bannu due to security reasons.

In the provincial capital – Peshawar – PTI’s Arbab Asim was elected district nazim unopposed, with the PTI also able to get nazims elected in three of the city’s four towns. Asim’s oath-taking ceremony was also conducted earlier in the day. Syed Qasim Ali Shah was elected on district naib nazim seat.

While the number of members in Peshawar district council house is 138, only 107 members attended the house during the election of nazims. In the voting for other seats, Zahid Nadeem of PTI was elected as nazim of Town-I, Peshawar while M Shoaib of the same party emerged as naib nazim. In Town-II, Faridullah of PTI won the town nazim seat while PTI’s Nadeem was voted as naib nazim.

In Town-III, Peshawar, Muhammad Ali won the contest for the district nazim while Abdul Wahab for naib nazim seat, both being PTI candidates. In Town-IV, nazim’s seat was won by PML-N candidate Haroon Sifat while the naib nazim came from JUI-F’s Arbab Kamal.

In district Nowshera, Liaquat Khattak, brother of the province’s chief minister Pervaiz Khattak, was elected as nazim, winning against the candidate of tripartite alliance Khushal Khan. The district naib nazim, Ashfaq, also belonged to PTI. In Charsadda, PTI’s Fahad Khan was elected district nazim, with Jamaat-i-Islami’s Masood Shah as his deputy. Adil Islam of PTI won the election in Haripur while Attaur Rehman of the same party was successful in securing the district nazim seat in Batgram. Mustafa Kundi won from Taank, Dr Umar Daraz from Karak, Aziz Ullah Zai from DI Khan and Noor Muhammad from Torghar.

Jamaat Islami’s Shehzada Faseeh Ullah won the election from Upper Dir. Maarfat Shah in Chitral, Dr Ubaid Ullah in Buner and Muhammad Rasool Khan bagged the district nazim seat in Lower Dir on JI ticket.

Muhammad Ali Shah of PML-N became the district nazim from Swat. PML-N candidates Sardar Syed Ghulam and Niaz Amir Muqam also won the elections in Mansehra and Shangla, respectively.

JUI-F’s Mufti Ubaid Ullah and Maulana Muhammad Niaz won the elections in Hangu and Kohat, respectively. PPP’s Syed Ahmed Ali won the election in Malakand and Ashfaq Ahmad of the same party secured the seat from Laki Marwat. ANP’s Amir Rehman secured the district nazim slot in Swabi. Tripartite alliance candidate Hmiayatullah Mayar who was nominated by ANP won district Nazim election by getting 60 votes while PPP candidate Asad Ali elected district naib nazim by getting 60 votes.

Kith and kin politics

Critics raised fingers at the alleged favouritism of the party by nominating close relatives of the sitting PTI’s lawmakers for the slots of district nazim. In Nowshera, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s brother, Liquat Khattak, was elected nazim followed by Dr Umar Daraz Khattak, the elder brother of MPA Gul Sahib Khan Khattak from Karak. Similarly, the brother of PTI MNA Dawar Khan Kundi, Mustafa Khan Kundi, has been elected district nazim Tank. In Peshawar, PTI’s Arbab Asim, the owner of a transport company, is believed to have extended transportation support to PTI during the 126-day long sit-in outside the Parliament House last year.

Pickpocket greets nazim

The newly elected nazim of Peshawar, Arbab Asim was robbed of Rs 70,000 while he was being congratulated by the supporters after getting elected just after taking the oath. He had ATM cards, identity card and Rs 70,000 in his wallet. He said he was meeting with workers when he became victim of pickpocketing. Asim appealed to the pickpockets to ‘kindly’ return driving license and national identity card.