Nearly 30 years on: ‘Tabdeeli’ comes to Mansehra

Nearly 30 years on: ‘Tabdeeli’ comes to Mansehra

BALAKOT: 

For nearly 30 years, the family of Sardar Muhammad Yousaf has had a virtual iron grip over Mansehra. But it seems that the family’s attempt to remain relevant in national politics has come unstuck in the wave of ‘change’ which is sweeping significant parts of the country.

Yousaf, who served as the federal religious affairs minister in the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, has proved to be a bulwark for the party in the mountainous Mansehra district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Yousaf had won the then national assembly constituency of NA-14 for the first time in 1990. Contesting as an independent candidate, he had bagged the seat by garnering 34,787 votes. In 1993, he contested the seat on a PML-N ticket and retained his seat by bagging 58,191 votes. He returned to parliament in the 1997 elections on a PML-N ticket with 46,918 votes.

With the PML-N government ousted in 1999 with a number of its senior leaders jailed or forced into exile, Yousaf decided to step aside for the 2002 elections, allowing his son, Sardar Shahjehan Yousaf to compete In the 2002 elections on a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket.

Bearing the Yousaf name, Shahjehan got into the parliament with 40,853 votes. He repeated the feat in 2008, outdoing his previous tally and those of his father by bagging 73,644 votes on a PML-Q ticket.

Yousaf decided to run from the seat in the 2013 general elections on his traditional PML-N ticket and won by securing 105,432 votes.

This time, Yousaf managed to convince his son to leave the PML-Q and join the PML-N. Yousaf senior then stepped aside to allow Yousaf junior to contest the national assembly seat — re-numbered as NA-13 after the delimitations earlier this year — while he contested on the provincial assembly seat of PK-34 Mansehra-V.

However, this meant that there was little room for the ambitions of fellow PML-N parliament hopeful Saleh Muhammad. Saleh had served five years in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assembly sitting on the opposition benches after being elected from the then-PK-55 Mansehra-III with 32,688 votes.

However, with the party denying him a ticket, he decided to contest from the constituency as an independent candidate. It was not clear whether he had any backing from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who did conspicuously fail to field a candidate in the constituency.

On July 25, Shahjehan could only muster 107,808 votes in the constituency, bettering his previous tallies and those of his father.

However, he was outdone by Saleh who bagged 109, 282 votes, a narrow lead of 1,836 votes. He later announced to join the PTI government in the centre. Muhammad Baseer Khan of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) was third with 19,716 votes in the constituency.

It ensured that the house of Yousaf, for the first time in 28 years, could not make it to the national assembly. Yousaf did manage to become a lawmaker, winning the provincial assembly seat, PK-34, by bagging 42,884 votes.

He beat out competition from independent candidate Shahzada Gushtasap Khan who secured 33,393 votes. MMA’s Shah Abdul Aziz was third in the constituency with 13,292 votes.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2018.


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