Like other major cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also suffered defeat in recent local government (LG) elections in Charsadda district. This is not the first time, however, that residents of the neighborhood have changed their political choices over time.
The district has been seen as a stronghold of both the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F). Aftab Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan (QWP) party also won one or two seats in the district’s national and provincial legislatures quite consistently.
In the 1988 general elections, Khan Abdul Wali Khan – then head of the ANP and political descendant of its founder Bacha Khan – was elected to the National Assembly on the district seat alone – the district now has two seats in The national assembly.
Wali Khan had defeated Ahsan Ullah Khan, a candidate of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI). During the election, the other constituent parties of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) – including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and JUI-F – did not present any candidates against Khan.
Wali Khan, however, was defeated in the battle for the Northwest Frontier Province Assembly (NWFP) – the former name of the KP – seat of the Assembly at the hands of Amir Khusro Khan. Aftab Khan Sherpao was elected to the NWFP assembly from another seat in Charsadda and later became the provincial chief minister. Three ANP candidates won the remainder of the district seats.
In the 1990 general election, JUI-F’s Maulana Hassan Jan defeated Wali Khan in the National Assembly by a large margin. Of the five seats in the Provincial Assembly, the ANP managed to get four while Sherpao was again elected in one of the constituencies.
After being defeated by Hassan Jan, Wali Khan decided not to stand for any election. He argued that if people in his home constituency – which is also the birthplace of the ANP – did not trust him, he was not allowed to participate in elections in another constituency.
Wali Khan was so disheartened by this defeat that he practically retired from electoral politics and was content to become the symbolic leader of his party. After Wali Khan’s arrest, his wife Begum Naseem Wali Khan entered politics.
However, his decision to take part in active politics was not well received in the extremely conservative society of the KP and senior leaders of his party and even his stepson Asfandyar Wali Khan resisted this decision as they wanted to protect. their wives from political aggression. denigration.
Begum Naseem’s decision to lead the ANP damaged the reputation of the party, which began to become unpopular in the province.
However, her advisers managed to keep her in the decision-making position for a long time.
Later, in 1999, Asfandyar led a rebellion against his mother-in-law and managed to convince her to withdraw from politics when he himself was elected party chairman in 1999.
Entering the political arena in his youth during the reign of Ayub Khan, Asfandyar Wali Khan ran for general election in 1990 and was elected to the NWFP provincial assembly. Later in 1993, he won the seat of the National Assembly with a narrow margin of a few hundred votes from Charsadda.
The ANP also managed to win four provincial assembly seats in the district – the fifth seat going to Sherpao. In the general elections of 1997, Asfandyar again succeeded in being elected to the National Assembly; the ANP again won four seats in the provincial assembly, and Sherpao also retained its seat.
In the 2002 general election, JUI-F’s Maulana Gohar Shah – who was a common candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) religious party alliance – defeated Asfandyar by a wide margin.
This defeat resulted in the resignation of the leader of the ANP for a brief period. However, he was quickly re-elected chairman of the unopposed party in 2003.
Aftab Sherpao, who now had the support of the Muslim League of Pakistan (PML-Q), secured both the second NA seat in the district as well as a seat in the provincial assembly.
This time the ANP lost ground and Sherpao’s son Sikander Khan Sherpao and an MMA candidate also won the seats in the NWFP assembly. Sherpao also left his seat in the provincial assembly, which was again won by Sheikh Muhammad Idrees of MMA.
In the 2008 general election, Asfandyar Wali won one of the seats in the National Assembly while Aftab Sherpao was elected to the second seat by a narrow margin. Once again, the ANP won four seats in the district, with the fifth seat now going to Sikandar Sherpao.
In the 2013 general election, Maulana Gohar Shah of JUI-F defeated not only Asfandyar Wali but also Fazal Muhammad Khan of PTI. The second NA seat was again won by Sherpao who beat a JUI-F candidate.
This time the ANP – which formed the provincial government after the 2008 elections – was wiped out across the district, with the five seats in the KP Assembly in the province being split between Sherpao’s QWP and the candidates of the JEWISH.
In the 2018 general election, Fazal Muhammad Khan of the PTI defeated Asfandyar Wali in the race for a seat in the National Assembly while another PTI candidate was elected to the second AN seat by defeating Zafar Ali Khan of the JUI-F with a very low margin.
The ANP was only able to obtain one seat in the Provincial Assembly while the other four seats were won by the PTI candidate. However, in the first phase of the LG KP polls – held on December 20 – JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Rauf Shakir defeated the PTI candidate.
In the three tehsil of the district, the JUI-F received a total of 124,993 votes, followed by the ANP with 62,117 votes and the PTI with 53,048 votes. The JUI-F obtained 9,827 more votes than the ANP and the PTI combined.
According to some analysts, if the JUI-F succeeds in resolving its internal differences and if it presents seasoned politicians in the next general election slated for July 2023, it can apparently eliminate the PTI from the province for good.