PESHAWAR - The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) and the Awami National Party (ANP) have started flexing their muscles amidst rising popularity of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in district Buner over its good governance and better service delivery.

The JI, the JUI-F and the ANP each have one seat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly from the district. The ANP has PK-77 seat, the JI has PK-78 seat and the JUI-F has PK-79 seat in the KP assembly.  This time, however, the situation is fasting changing as a number of prominent people have made a beeline to join the PTI.

PTI sources said that high profile politicians affiliated with the JI and the ANP were going to join the party in coming days. There are reports that incumbent JI MNA Sher Akber Khan has hinted joining the PTI on the condition of awarding him a party ticket. The same lawmaker had joined the JI on the same condition and succeeded to retain a seat of National Assembly on the JI ticket. Khan served as MNA for the second time.

This time, the JI has again hinted him to award a ticket, however, Khan likes to play his cards very close to his chest before making any final decision ahead of the 2018 general elections. Sources said that the MNA will decide his future strategy as soon as the picture about the mood of the electorates clears.

On the other hand, senior PTI workers have been struggling to get party tickets against the sacrifices they have rendered for the party in the district.

PTI District Councilor Inam-ur-Rahman, however, said that there were little chances that MNA Sher Khan will join the PTI as the JI has promised a party ticket this time again.

On the other hand, ANP leader Rauf Khan is also vying for the slot of MNA and aspiring for a party ticket. He is delivering fiery speeches at party meetings to muster the support of Pakhtun nationalists.

The ANP party leader said that voters would remember the developmental projects carried out by his party in the past and renaming of ANFP as KP and construction of a number of educational institutions in Buner along with a campus of Abdul Wali Khan University. The ANP high-ups are expecting that the old party workers, who had joined the PTI for change, would re-join the party soon, as, according to them, the ruling party has not launched a single mega project in the province while its rapid bus project was still limited to paperwork.

The JUI-F, the PTI’s arch rival, has also started its election campaign as in the previous elections, the party succeeded in making an entry in Buner and its candidate won the MPA seat of PK-79 by defeating candidates of the PTI, the JI, and the ANP.

The entry of PTI in Buner politics created a space for the JUI-F to get the seat as the PTI inflicted losses on the vote bank of the JI and the ANP.

Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has also promised to visit Malakand Division to organize the party in Swat and Buner. However, the position of the Pakistan People Party is not satisfactory in several districts of Malakand Division as most of its workers have joined the PTI. The ruling PML-N seems to have the same position which is yet to start election campaigning.