NOWSHERA – Those who filed nominations included Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Saeed Ullah Khan, Shaukat son of Fazal Mohammad Afzal, Shaukat Ali son of Liaqat Ali, Abdul Qadir, Eman Khan, Mohammad Aslam, and Mohammad Ashraf Dar and former PM Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi. Although 10 candidates have filed nominations, actually it would be a triangular contest between Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, and Aslam Khan.
The covering candidate of Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of ANP is his brother Ilyas Ahmad Bilour while former MNA Haji Shaukat Ali is the covering candidate of PTI chief Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi. Journalist Ashraf Dar is the covering candidate of Mohammad Aslam of Jamaat-e-Islami.
Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour is a veteran politician and has vast electoral experience contesting general and by-elections since 1990. He was defeated by the PTI chief Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi in the general elections of 2013, however, later in the by-election, he succeeded in defeating the PTI candidate. This time, besides enjoying the support of the component parties of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is also equipped with the support of the PPP.
On the other hand, it will be a test for the popularity of the PTI chief, former Prime Minister Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, who besides the euphoria of the peak of his popularity would also have the backing of the provincial government in this electoral battle. Although PTI candidates have returned from the constituency in the last two consecutive general elections. But, no doubt ANP and PPP also have political roots in the constituency, and before the general elections of 2013, all elections were fought between these two political parties.
It is now up to ANP leadership and its candidate how to en-cash the vote bank of PPP and JUI-F in the by-election. JUI-F candidate for Mayor Peshawar has obtained over 63000 votes in the recent local bodies polls while ANP and PPP candidates have also obtained over 50,000 and over 45,000 votes respectively.
(Source: National print and online media with input from social media and local sources).