In 2018, election district Chitral will be the NA-1 of the National Assembly and this is considered a tough constituency by all political parties involved. Horns are locked between Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and Mutahhida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). Saleem Khan is contesting the election from the PPP platform and has been a member of the provincial assembly twice, in 2008 and again in 2013.Now he is aspiring for a National Assembly seat from the same platform. PTI is being represented by Abdul Latif, who is a youth leader from Chitral. MMA has selected Maulana Abdul Akbar for their platform, and he enjoys a strong hold on right-wing votes in the region.The PML-N has nominated Iftikhar Uddin, who was previously a member of the National Assembly after winning the elections in 2013 under the banner of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML). Chitral has a long history of strong voter turnout, and they are set to repeat this tradition this time around as well.The PTI will attract most of their support from the region’s young people. The people of Upper Chitral will also mostly vote for the PTI, while Lower Chitral might follow suite. If they can attract conservative voters, then they might have enough to win the seat outrightThis election is being predicted to be tough, as all major political parties enjoy some form of support and a few independent candidates are said to have made an impact as well. As a result, the vote is completely divided, especially when compared to the situation during the 2013 elections. If we talk about the vote bank of the PPP, the people of Arandu will surely vote for Saleem Khan. They might also get some divided votes from Torkoh, Mulkoh (due to Benazir Support Program) and the conservative area of Mastuj. However, the people of Lotkoh, which is Saleem’s hometown, are not expected to vote in similar numbers, for reasons that will be discussed later.The PTI will attract most of their support from the youth population of the region. The people of Upper Chitral will also mostly vote for the PTI, while Lower Chitral might follow suite as well.If they can add some votes from the conservative faction of voters then they might have enough to win the seat outright. However, the MMA is expected to dominate the right-wing vote, with people from main Chitral city, Drosh, Oyon expected to sway their way, as will the people from Torkoh and Molkoh. PML-N’s candidate Iftikhar’s main vote bank at present lies in the main Chitral city.The people of Torkoh and Molkoh will vote for him too due to his strong agents working there and he might be able to muster up some support in the Mastuj area as well.Clearly, the competition in the region is much too tough, and it is hard to predict the winner in the end. In this situation, the role of Shehzada Taimoor, who is independent candidate, is very important.His target is the vote bank of Lotkah, Arkari and Oxor Karimabad, and he is the major obstacle in the path of Saleem Khan. Khan’s voters are increasingly going over to his side and the rift between the two men might prove detrimental for Saleem on Election Day. The PPP failed to shake hands with Taimoor earlier, and they now find him blocking their path to victory.Although the contest is very tough and here Shehzada Taimoor might be the most sought after independent candidate in Pakistan, especially by the PTI and PPP, his voters have already made up their minds. If political parties are planning to extend an olive branch to him, then the time is now; otherwise they just might have to kiss this important seat goodbye.The author is an Islamabad-based writerPublished in Daily Times, July 20th 2018.