ISLAMABAD - Internally displaced persons living in two refugee camps in Hangu will be a deciding factor in the National Assembly by-poll for Orakzai Agency scheduled for March. 3.
Displaced since 2009 military operation, around 6,000 registered voters of the two camps are now being courted by the two main contestants: Dr Ghazi Gulab Jamal and Jawad Hussain.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) earlier on Thursday decided that re-polls in two camps of IDPs will be held on March 3, in the wake of court judgments that seek by-polls on two polling stations, following the controversial 2013 election in NA-49, Tribal Area-IV Orkazai Agency.
Currently, Dr Ghazi Gulab Jamal represents Orakzai Agency in the lower house of the parliament. His victory was challenged by his opponent Jawad Hussain, who is the brother of Senator Malik Najmul Hassan. Dr G. G Jamal secured 8922 votes while Jawad Hussain got 8726 votes falling short of exactly 196 votes in the last general elections. Jawad Hussain had challenged the victory of Dr Jamal in a tribunal and Peshawar High Court. Jawad Hussain had won the 2008 election from the same constituency.
The election is also taking place under fears of sectarian violence. The refugee camps are inhabited by both Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Dr Jamal belongs to the Sunni sect while his opponent adheres to the Shiite sect.
Official sources in the election commission have expressed apprehensions of sectarian violence and political administration has proposed re-locating the polling stations to different locality to ensure peaceful polling.
However, both candidates have vowed that they will not use sectarian sentiments to rally their voters.