PESHAWAR: The ANP stalwart Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour is going to contest for the National Assembly seat for 11th time in the upcoming general elections.

Since the general elections 1988, the veteran politician has contested all general and by-elections except of 2002, which he had missed due to the conditionality of the graduation qualification. So, he has emerged the most experienced candidates in the country.

In the general elections 1988, he was candidate against Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, then provincial president of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (then North-West Frontier Province) and lost to him.

As Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao was elected chief minister, he vacated the constituency and in by-election Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour was again contested as joint candidate of PPP and ANP and made it to the parliament for first time.

After the general elections PPP and ANP had formed coalition government in the then North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), but it could not go for long and the alliance was collapsed in a period of not more than one year.

In the controversial elections of 1990, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour defeated PPP’s Chairperson Shaheed Benazir Bhutto with the support of the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI). However, PPP rejected the election results and alleged rigging in over 50 constituencies including NA-1 of Peshawar.

In famous Asghar Khan case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan accepted the plea and ordered investigation into the alleged manipulation in the elections. In the general elections 1993, Haji Saab failed to prove his popularity and triumph on PPP and lost to least popular candidate Syed Zafar Ali Shah.

Since the breakup of the alliance between PPP and ANP, the later remained an ally of the IJI and particularly of PML-N.

In general elections 1997, polling in the constituency was postponed due to the death of PPP candidate. But, on the provincial assembly seats, it had already exhibited dismal performance and the joint candidates of ANP and PML-N remained winners.

In the by-election, Bilour easily humbled then PPP candidate, Syed Qamar Abbas down. The poll also witnessed the unfortunate, mishap of firing in a polling station at Wazir Bagh locality, which claimed the life of only son of Bilour.

He did not contest the elections of 2002 due to the condition of the criteria of BA qualification and his nephew late Usman Ahmad Bilour, son of Bashir Ahmad Bilour contested the election as ANP-PPP joint candidate, but lost.

In general elections 2008, Ghulam Bilour was against ANP candidate on the constituency and won it with a narrow margin. However, it was the first win of the ANP candidate in the city on the basis of his own and popularity of his political party. In the general election of 2008, ANP had have emerged as top popular political party of the province.

In general elections 2013, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour contested the election against Imran Khan and lost to him. However, in by-election he defeated the PTI candidate as a joint candidate of ANP and PPP.

For the upcoming elections, Ghulam Bilour is once again candidate from the constituency, but this time facing candidate from all political parties including PPP, JUI-F, PML-N, JI and PTI-backed candidate Asif Khan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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