Electioneering campaign gains momentum in Mohmand Agency
GHALANAI: After the announcement of final list of contesting candidates and acceptance of nomination papers, independent candidates and those belonging to different political parties have formally kicked off election campaign in Mohmand Agency.
Door-to-door visits, holding of rallies, hoisting of colorful flags and installation of banners have started following the completion of scrutiny process of candidates by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Processions of youth on motorbikes waving their party flags is a new sight in the tribal history for election campaigns.
One can see a large number of young workers and men marching in the tribal constituency with flags of their parties and huge portraits of their candidates and political leaders. Most of these rallies are being guarded by the Levies forces and their personal guards.
“Personal security is first and that is why the leadership had to inform the local administration before starting a march,” Saifullah, a young worker of a political party who was part of a large rally comprising around 300 people in Shaheed Banda Pandiali tehsil, said.
Four Levies personnel were moving ahead of the rally while others were escorting in a van.
“All the political workers are freely going to outdoor activities and they are conducting big rallies in each tehsil of the tribal district.
“We are ready to die for a cause,” said Zabit Khan, another political activist participating in a rally in Ambar.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is among the five parties, including Awami National Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakistan People’s Party, which have sped up their election campaign to attract more voters.
Candidates, voters and especially young supporters of the PTI are enthusiastically looking forward to the elections, as they believe that the party-based elections will help them overcome the backwardness and poverty which they said had oppressed the tribal people since the creation of Pakistan.
Despite political differences, most of the candidates and political parties agree and celebrate the FATA merger into KP and they have declared the abolishment of outdated tribal political system a good news and demanded introducing more democratic system.
Nisar Mohmand, president ANP Mohmand Agency and candidate for NA-42, told that they had constituted tehsil and village-wise units for electioneering.
He said that ANP also had women wing and NYO (National Youth Organizations) and they were busy day and night in election campaigning in the area.
Nisar said that all the party workers tasked them to conduct meetings in Hujras and villages in the night.
He said that this time women will not be able to cast vote because the election commission Mohmand agency established women polling stations at non-feasible places.
Nisar Mohmand blamed the election commission officials that they had intentionally established polling stations at a distance of 7 to 8 kilometers.
Muhammad Saeed Khan, Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Mohmand Agency and candidate for NA-42, said that the main activity of JI’s election campaign was party recruitment gatherings.
“Thousands of people in Alingar, Sagi, Qandhrai,Ghazi Baig and Pandiali have joined the JI,” he said adding, “and JI workers also help people to register their votes”.
Saeed said JI’s chief Sirjaul Haq and other leaders had addressed a number of large public gatherings in Mohmand agency.
PTI leader and candidate for NA-42, Sajid Khan Mohmand said his party and particularly the youths and ISF had started door to door campaign to convey the message of PTI chief Imran Khan.
He said that party workers had also started campaign on social media to attract more and more new voters to the party.
Sajid Khan claimed that he was sure that the residents of Mohmand Agency will gift NA-42 seat to Imran Khan.
“We have adopted an excellent campaign of convincing tribal people after resolving their issues,” Mohmand said.
He said that tribesmen had many problems and disputes which they brought to administration offices and the PTI workers then helped them – and also urged them to vote for the PTI.
Malik Bilal Rehman, former MNA for the last two terms in the Mohmand constituency, launched his campaign two months ago.
Bilal’s personal secretary, Jehan Zeb Mohmand, said using social media, especially Facebook, he regularly posts texts and photographs of development projects initiated by Malik Bilal Rehman in the last five years.
Former MNA Ghulam Muhammad Sadiq, the agency amir for Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-F in Mohmand Agency, said his party believes in continued political campaigning. JUI-F has divided its election campaign into several phases. He said billboards, wall chalking and JUI workers’ training were almost completed. He predicts that the coming election will be a tough task for them. He urged the party workers to work hard but he said JUI was well prepared to win in NA-42.