MIANWALI - After an aggressive campaigning by Imran Khan across Mianwali district last week, the political fabric of the district is fast changing and a tough contest is expected in most of the constituencies.

Picturous Mianwali district covers an area of 5,840 square kilometers. The area in north is a continuation of the Pothohar Plateau and the Kohistan-e-Namak. The district consists of various towns, including Kalabagh, Isa Khel, Kundian, Paikhel, Piplan, Kamar Mushani, Mochh, Swans, Rokhri, Harnauli, Alluwali, Wan Bhachran, Daud Khel, Uttra Kalan and the district capital, Mianwali city. There are two National Assembly and four provincial assembly seats to be elected by around 748,692 registered voters, out of which 409,230 are male and 339,462 are female voters.


NA-71 is based on rural areas of Mianwali district, mainly based on towns like Kalabagh, Paikhel, Isa Khel, Chakrala, Bin Hafiz Ji, Swans, Mochh, Tola Bangi Khel, Tabbi Sar, Kamar Mushani, etc. There are 28 union councils in this constituency where 382,994 voters have been registered.

Political parties don’t matter for the people of this constituency and only what matters the most is the candidate itself. This was the constituency, which elected either Nawab of Kalabagh or Maulana Abdus Sattar Khan Niazi from early 40s till the demise of both the politicians. However, under General Musharraf’s reign, Mianwali was divided into two constituencies after its delimitation. In the recent elections of year 2008, Malik Ammad Khan, the son of Nawab of Kalabagh Malik Asad Khan, won the elections as independent candidate. Currently Malik Ammad Khan is holding the portfolio of State Minister for Foreign Affairs. During 2008 elections he had secured 83,089 votes. It was another independent candidate, Amanatullah Khan Shadikhel, the younger brother of billionaire landlord of the region Ubaidullah Shadikhel, who had bagged 73,019 votes and stood runner up.

PTI Chief Imran Khan did not contest from this constituency due to his party’s boycott of polls.

Interestingly, despite the sympathetic wave for the PPP due to the tragic assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto in year 2007, the PPP’s candidate Sardar Bahadur Babar Khan could only bag 4,260 votes while the PML-N candidate Inamullah Khan Niazi, cousin of Imran Khan, had got 2,087 votes.

In the current scenario, this constituency is going to be one of the most focused constituencies of the country as Imran Khan is expected to contest election from this very constituency. Traditionally, this constituency is known for being a battlefield between the nominee of Nawab of Kalabagh and Shadikhels.

Situation has changed drastically in Kalabagh where a new Nawab, Malik Waheed Khan, has taken over reigns from his uncle, Malik Asad Khan, who is father of Malik Ammad and Malik Fawwad Khan.

Malik Waheed Khan has announced to support Imran Khan, giving the PTI chief a major boost. Nawabs dominate Kalabagh area where around 40,000 voters cast their votes. PTI leader and former MNA Ayla Malik has played a key role in winning support of Nawab of Kalabagh Malik Waheed Khan for Imran Khan as the Nawab is not only first cousin but also a brother in law of Ayla Malik.

Ayla’s youngest daughter has also been engaged to Malik Amir, the son of Malik Waheed. Hence, Ayla Malik is now making all political decisions on behalf of the Nawab, who is non-political.

Two influential in the region have also joined the PTI. Major (Retd) Iqbal Khattak, the head of Khattaks of tehsil Isa Khel, and Sajjada Nashin of Bilot Sharif, Syed Murtajiz Ali Shah, the spiritual leader of Shias of Pakki Shah Mardan, Dher Umid Ali Shah, Wahnda Kukranwala, Mari Indus and Mochh.  Moreover, former DG-IB Major General (Retd) Rafiullah Khan has also joined the PTI.


Ayla Malik has been instrumental in doing away with most of the ills of the locals, as she has been successful in persuading Razaul Mustafa Khan Paikhel, the tribal chief of Paikhel tribe, to overturn a decision made by his late father to ban voting for women of the tribe. Hence, women of the tribe would cast their votes for the first time since 1956.


One-to-One contest is expected in this constituency between Imran Khan and Ubaidullah Shadikhel in the upcoming elections. Imran Khan is flying high as not only youth of Mianwali adore him but this time around, he is also being backed by powerful chieftains, tribal heads and religious leaders of Mianwali.

Khan had won from this constituency in year 2002 without any support from bigwigs of the area. However, this time around, he has won over his all adversaries including the Kalabaghs.

The only political personality who can challenge Khan is Ubaidullah Khan Shadikhel. The PML-N leadership is desperate to win him over but failed till date. However, if the PML-N awards ticket to Shadikhels, Rokheris, another powerful tribe, would either join the PTI or would contest polls independently. Malik Ammad Khan and Fawwad Khan are also making efforts to win party ticket of the PML-N but it would also make no difference for them as Ammad did nothing drastic for the people of the area in past five years.

The PML-N leadership had tried to field MNA Sumaira Malik in NA-71 to divide the vote bank of Kalabaghs, but Ayla Malik remained successful in convincing her elder sister not to divide the family.

Imran Khan could win polls from both constituencies - NA-71 & NA-72. He has even more chances to win with a majority from Mianwali city, NA-72, if he opts for as he has more backing in urban areas as compared to the rural areas. However, it seems that he preferred to sacrifice NA-72 to accommodate his cousin - Inamullah Khan Niazi.


Keeping in view the successes of Imran Khan, Ubaidullah Shadikhel wants to contest from NA-71 and PP-43 simultaneously on the PML-N ticket or as independent so that in case he loses from NA-71, he could at least win as MPA.

He may also field his younger brother Amanatullah Khan. During 2008 elections Amanatullah Khan had bagged 37,419 votes and stood runner up. While Abdul Hafeez Khan, brother of famous Babli Khan who did not contest the last elections as he had not a graduation degree, is elected MPA from here. Abdul Hafeez Khan had secured 38,022 votes.

However, this condition is unacceptable for the PML-N who wants to award the party ticket to Khans of Isa Khel, Babli Khan. However, if the PML-N award ticket to Shadikhel from NA-71 and PP-43, Babli Khan would go for contesting election independently or would join PTI. This is the reason why the PML-N leadership is undecided about ticket to Shadikhels. The PTI has two candidates for PP-43 and both are from Khans family - Jamal Ahsan Khan and Ali Khan. Both are strong contenders and the PTI would have to decide one for the ticket. However, if Babli Khan parts ways with the PML-N, the PTI ticket would be for him or his brother. Babli Khan is de-facto MPA from here.


PP-44 is a traditional constituency for Rokheri family. After the demise of MPA Amir Hayat Rokheri, his son Adil Abdullah Rokheri won this seat after a close contest with Tariq Masud Kund, a nominee of Shadikhels. The PTI has yet not decided to decide about this seat. PTI leaders Dr Salahuddin Khan, Haji Khurshid Anwer Khan and Razaul Mustafa Khan are vying for the PTI ticket.

Ayla Malik is in charge of the PTI’s Election Campaign for Mianwali district and if Imran Khan wins, she would be de facto MNA, as Khan would have no time to focus on his constituency.