During its coverage of the election campaign in Shangla, Daily Times has observed several contenders soliciting for votes in return for assurances that they would get link roads built using excavator machine they own. Naeem Ahmed, a social worker, says Amir Muqam owns 33 excavators, Waqar Ahamd 13 and Sadeedur Rehman eight. All three are committing to provide the equipment for road construction in return for votes. Rahman Ali, a driver by profession, says that he got a call from the associates of all main contenders who offered to repair water pipes as well as construct link roads in return for his and his family’s votes.Another trend observed in the constituency was the offer of cash handouts in a unique manner. Several voters told Daily Times that the practice in the area was to put handouts in booklets with religious texts. The recipient is asked to take a vow that they would support the candidates in return for the handout or be condemned by the power of the text. Alam Sardar, a voter in the area who is a graduate of a Islamabad-based university, says there is a market of votes, with candidates offering money at rates determined by their chances of success. For instance, he said, the going rate a few weeks before the election was between PKR5000 t0 8000, and it was expected to go up close to the elections.Published in Daily Times, July 24th 2018.