PESHAWAR: The ‘parachute’ landing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) provincial assembly candidate Taimur Saleem Jhagra seems to have gone smoothly after all disgruntled party hopefuls withdrew their objections and competing papers against him.
This has boosted Taimur’s confidence of bagging the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) provincial assembly seat PK-73 in next month’s elections.
Taimur, in an interview with The Express Tribune, said that it was the party which has awarded him a ticket for the constituency. Hence, other hopefuls from the party had little option but to withdraw their papers and objections.
“Yes, it has been popularised that I am coming in via a parachute, but at least I landed safely,” Taimur smiled in response to a question.
The young party candidate explained that even though he does not hail from the area, the party leadership trusts him.
“I will try my best to reach every voter and convince them to vote for PTI, that people not vote for an individual but for the party,” he said, laying bare his strategy, adding that his job was made easy owing to the stellar list of candidates the party boasts.
“It is easy for me to convince people of the area [to vote for the PTI] as I am [the chosen] candidate of PTI and people like it,” he claimed.
While Taimur may claim to have landed safely, his flight and ‘para-drop’ into the constituency has been anything but.
As many as 33 PTI workers had filed their applications for a ticket of PK-73, previously known as PK-8 Peshawar. A number of those candidates were locals but the party chose to award the ticket to a candidate who was a relative unknown in the area, having spent most of his time abroad or in other provinces.
Angered at being ignored, party workers and activists protested against the decision of the party leadership.
Some were so disheartened that they announced plans to contest against the party’s nominees as independents. Others made public their opposition to the move by putting up posters on many thoroughfares of Hayatabad against Taimur.
Some even travelled all the way to Bani Gala in Islamabad to join other disgruntled party members in a sit-in outside the residence of party chief Imran Khan.
A few candidates even filed petitions against Taimur’s nomination before the election tribunal for allegedly failing to disclose his UAE work permit (iqama) in his nomination papers.
“I never feel the pressure at such occasions,” Taimur explained, adding, “One of my strong suits is to easily convince people. Hence it was not a big deal for me and I convinced all the candidates to withdraw their papers.”
The young candidate hails from the Jhagra village in the suburbs of Peshawar and is the nephew of the late Iftikhar Khan Jhagra, one of the strongest political figures from the Peshawar region having been thrice elected from the province and serving once as a minister.
The PTI candidate is also the son of Saleem Khan Jhagra, a former provincial and federal Secretary.
His paternal grandfather was the late Ibrahim Khan Jhagra, a leading figure in the independence movement, and one of the most distinguished political figures of the province in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. His maternal grandfather was President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
He hails from the same village as incumbent K-P Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra.
Taimur is a business graduate with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the London Business School and has worked in a number of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe — both in the public and private sectors. He has also worked at McKinsey and for Schlumberger, the oil services giant, in Pakistan, China, Indonesia and the UAE.
Taimur and party chief Imran have an old association and after joining the party, he was moved to head the party’s policy unit.
The unit is set up to serve as a think tank for the party to develop policy perspectives and implementation plans from 2018 to 2023.
As part of the Election Management Cell of the party, he is devising an action plan for the PTI to start delivering from the first day after forming a government.
He also contributed to designing the party’s famed “100-day plan” to bring about change in governance.
Taimur said that the plan is based on six basic themes including transforming governance, strengthening the federation, revitalizing economic growth, uplifting agriculture and conserving water, revolutionising social services — including transforming education and health, putting in place development programmes for women and providing clean drinking water and ensuring Pakistan’s national security.
But his most ambitious plan includes creating some 10 million jobs for the country’s youth bulge.
The young party leader said that the party aims to do this by restoring manufacturing. To do this, he said, they would have to encourage and facilitate the private sector, boost tourism, improve the provision of energy to power the manufacturing and make the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a really a game changer for the people.
Taimur further explained that the country has access to many resources such as a rich agricultural sector and that they are committed to imposing an agriculture emergency to improve farmer profitability.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2018.