By Razzak Abro
Their names may be new but their families are old. They are the scions of the Jatois, Mahars, Palijos and Marris to name a few. They may not have fought for the Constitution and may be more familiar with Christian Dior but that does not mean they don’t have a part to play in the future politics of this country.
Take Rafay Akbar Rashdi for example. He is the son of former bureaucrat Mehtab Akbar Rashdi and is standing from PS-38 Larkana, the home district of Benazir Bhutto. According to his mother, he has graduated in Information Technology Management Systems from Ryerson University, Toronto and was doing his MA from the University of London.
One of the biggest complaints has been that the people are tired of the same old faces. The Sharifs may have had an image overhaul and Benazir may be wearing different jewelry but they are ultimately the same old people. However, the families of Sindh, that traditionally maintained a tight hold on who would contest, have started to loosen their grip. In fact, in the last general elections in 2002, young educated women and men joined politics. They included Arif Mustafa Jatoi and Farhad Zaman Jatoi, the son and nephew of former caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Sassui Palijo, the daughter of Ghulam Qadir Palijo, Syed Murad Ali Shah, the son of former Sindh chief minister late Syed Abdullah Shah, Shazia Marri, the daughter of former Sindh Assembly speaker, late Atta Muhammad Marri, Syed Noor Muhammad Shah, the son of former provincial minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and others. Most of them are planning to fight on Jan 8.
In part, new people are entering because they qualify for the elections that require a candidate to have graduated. Traditionally, in Pakistani society, the elders lead their families at every forum, therefore initially, in 2002, it was difficult for influential political families to accept this change.
But now the following young, educated members of Sindh’s big families have stepped forward. Shaharyar Khan Maher, son of former federal minister Sardar Ghous Bux Maher is a candidate on PS-10, Shikarpur. He entered politics after serving in the army for nine years. According to him, he joined the Pakistan Army as a second lieutenant and left it as a captain. He graduated during military service, and did his MA in Political Science after leaving the army. “I joined politics of my own will,” he said while talking to Daily Times from Shikarpur. He said he wanted to serve the people but that it is only a government that can tackle their basic problems. He is optimistic that there will be change if more young educated people join.
Another young entry to parliamentary politics is Fahad Malik from Jacobabad. He is the nephew of caretaker prime minister Mohammadmian Soomro and is contesting from NA-209. His mother, Soomro’s sister, Maliha Malik, is also contesting, from NA-208, Jacobabad.
Former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim, whose family members are contesting on almost all provincial and national assembly constituencies of district Mithi, has also introduced a new face for this election: His nephew Arbab Zulfiqar is a candidate from PS-62, Nangarparkar, and PS-61 Mithi.
A PPP leader and former provincial law minister introduced his daughter, Marvi, during the last general elections and she became an MPA for five years. This time, another Marvi is in the running. She is Marvi Memon, the daughter of the current caretaker information minister, Nisar Memon, and will be one of the candidates on a women’s reserved seat from the PML-Q.
Caretaker minister Aijaz Shah Shirazi has introduced his sons from their native district of Thatta. Riaz Shah is contesting from NA-237, Thatta and in the last elections his elder brother, Ayaz Shah Shirazi, was elected an assembly member.
Malik Changez Khan would be another new entry in politics. He is a close relative of former PPP MNA Abdul Ghani Talpur, and a cousin of district Jamshoro’s nazim, Malik Asad Sikandar. Chagez would be contesting from PS-73, Jamshoro.
PPP leader from Dadu Pir Mazharul Haq had put his son Pir Mujeebul Haq up for PS-74, Dadu but withdrew him once his papers came through. Mujeeb read Law in London.
Another new entry is Pir Fayaz Shah Jilani, the son of Miran Shah, the gaddi nasheen of Dargah Ghausia, Ranipur, district Khairpur Mirs. He has been nominated by the PML-F on PS-33, Ranipur. Similarly, Pir Ahmed Raza Shah Jilani alias Pir Pyar Ali Shah is also a new face. He is the son of former federal minister Pir Abdul Qadir Shah Jilani, and would contest against his cousin Pir Fayaz Shah of the PML-F on the same constituency.
Another new face has come from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Nadia Gabol is contesting the elections on the provincial seats from PS 108 and 109 Karachi.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007