Lawyer determined to give veteran politicians a tough time in NA-250

Published: April 21, 2013
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Instead of plastering billboards with his face, Jibran Nasir will fix sewers in his election campaign.

Instead of plastering billboards with his face, Jibran Nasir will fix sewers in his election campaign.

KARACHI: 

Mohammad Jibran Nasir, a 26-year-old lawyer is determined to give seasoned +politicians a tough time in NA-250 because he believes he has the courage to address issues others shy away from.

Facing this independent candidate on the national assembly seat are Jamaat-i-Islami’s Niamatullah Khan, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Khushbakht Shujaat, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Dr Arif Alvi and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Rashid Rabbani. Nasir is also contesting the related provincial assembly seat, PS-113, which covers DHA and its surrounding areas.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Nasir fearlessly stated his political convictions as he addressed issues such as the blasphemy laws, removing hate-speech from school curriculum, minorities’ representation in assemblies, marital rape, forced conversions and special courts for racially and religiously motivated violence.

“I have tried to embed certain hard-hitting points in the manifesto which our political parties despite their millions of voters do not dare to talk about.” Nasir has risked his dream job at a leading law firm to pursue politics full time, even though his parents are fearful for their son’s life.

In a white shalwar kameez with a small Pakistani flag on his chest, the Lécole for Advanced Studies and Northumbria School of Law, UK, alumnus had no qualms about calling himself a “common man”. His father exhausted his life-savings on his education – a little less than one million rupees only on a law degree from Lécole. Later, his uncle supported his post-graduation from the UK. “I fear how my family is going to pay bills for four months from now if I do not find a job immediately after the elections.”

Nasir has been involved in various charitable ventures for the past three years – volunteering for relief work after the floods and after the Abbas Town blasts, in particular. But he felt that these activities were merely damage control. “Such remedial work would not affect the minds of the people, the policies of the government, our education curriculum to develop a new positive thinking for the Pakistan of tomorrow,” he said. With the conviction to bring about change from the top, Nasir decided to take forward the voice of the common man.

‘Model’ campaign

As he gears up to campaign for the elections, Nasir refused to plaster the walls of his constituency with huge billboards and life-sized posters of himself. Rather, he decided to spend the money fixing sewers, removing garbage and placing waste bins, and helping those in need of immediate help. “I am recording this experience as a model campaign for the MQM, PTI, JI and the PPP to adopt.”

According to Nasir, he is expecting around 10,000 votes because if he aimed to win then he would have to twist his ideals, obscure his perspectives and sugar-coat his words. “Right now my aim is not to win the election because for that I will have to make a number of false promises,” he accepted. “I only aim to win the elections in a fair manner while being completely true to my voters,” he said, adding that if he stays truthful, he won’t be able to get more than 10,000 votes.

“If my miserable failure serves to educate the people, then I will pay my duty to the society,” he said. “People should learn that telling the truth requires a lot of courage and that it’s a long, but right road.”

For more details on his campaign log on to www.facebook.com/Mohammadjibrannasir

‘DHA parks have become red-light districts’

Independent candidate for NA-250, Mohammad Jibran Nasir, pointed out that the commercial areas of DHA and Clifton and parks in the neighbourhood have been allowed to become unofficial red-light districts. “When a friend of mine strolls down the street from Espresso on Zamzama towards Pie in the Sky, she gets offers hurling her way.” They shout, “Chalo gi?” assuming she is a sex worker.

Nasir also wants to shift all diplomatic missions, consulates and embassies out of DHA and Clifton and proposes a diplomatic enclave on the city outskirts. “Being high-value targets, their presence in residential areas poses a mutual threat to the residents as well as the staff.”

He also opposed the expansion and security protocol of political palaces, including Bilawal House, which had deprived commuters of roads meant for public access. To prevent street crimes, he suggested strategic placement of the police at sensitive points, such as Korangi Road and Punjab Chowrangi, where people get mugged everyday in broad daylight.

Why Nasir decided to contest

The reason why NA-250 independent candidate Jibran Nasir did not align with any political party is because he failed to find one that he wanted to vote for. This and the fact that he wanted to prove that a concerned citizen has lost all hope with political parties. “All you need is a bit of will to take politics out of the drawing rooms,” he said.

Nasir was an ardent supporter of the PTI, until he felt that the party was merely changing faces and not policies and mindsets. “When you talk about change, then what are you doing differently from ‘Noon’ and ‘Qaaf’ leagues?” he asked, referring to PML-N and PML-Q. The young lawyer came across his rival candidate, Dr Arif Alvi, nearly 14 years ago for a dental check-up and remembers him as a wonderful dentist. It is the PTI’s policies that he doesn’t see eye to eye with.

JI’s Niamatullah Khan is, in Nasir’s opinion, a wonderful administrator. “An elected member of parliament has to play, however, an entirely different role as compared to a mayor that he was,” he said. He felt, however, that Khan’s religious affiliation will come in to play when he has to form policies on issues, such as abortion, marital rape, or blasphemy laws. “He is bound by the party manifesto, which does not talk about these issues.”

Despite his appreciation for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for being secular and never misusing ‘Islam’ for politics, he could not make concessions on the “party’s violent history outside of politics”. He also felt the party failed to act even when it had the opportunity. “A party that has the power to close down the city in five minutes, does not have the power to solve even the city’s sewerage and sanitation problems in the past five years.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2013. 

Note: In an earlier version of this story, Nasir was quoted as saying that he gave up his dream job to pursue politics full time. Nasir has retracted his statement and the article has been revised to accommodate this change. 

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Tim
    Apr 21, 2013 - 1:15AM

    Sadly, anyone voting for him will be wasting his vote. Even he agrees.

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  • Tanvir
    Apr 21, 2013 - 1:18AM

    What kind of a faltoo insaan is this guy. Waste of taxpayers money.

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  • Falcon
    Apr 21, 2013 - 1:30AM

    Really nice and inspirational political candidate. But, in my humble view, he didn’t give PTI a chance. With 80% of non-electables getting tickets, PTI has delivered on its commitment as a pro-change force with new faces. Secondly, I also feel that a part of him is still thinking like a social activist. His desire to fix ideological issues is impressive but that can not be done in isolation, there are many structural issues that need to be addressed as well. Nonetheless, he comes across as very mature person and even in his failure, he is going to set an example for others. I whole-heartedly wish him the best of luck (I can only wish that he had stayed in PTI :()

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  • DrOcto
    Apr 21, 2013 - 1:59AM

    sir, genuine, sir.

    genuine.

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  • Raza Jamali
    Apr 21, 2013 - 2:17AM

    All the best Jibran!

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  • Apr 21, 2013 - 2:51AM

    I remember reading his blog post where he said his life was at risk, i wonder, i wonder.

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  • Aruna
    Apr 21, 2013 - 4:17AM

    Way to go Jibran, if only there were more people like you. More importantly if only there were more people who appreciated what you stand for.

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  • AAA
    Apr 21, 2013 - 8:15AM

    Votes never get wasted…they should be based on ideology and not on monetary concepts..if he does not win now but get decent votes he will try next time also and i think based on my reading of this article that he is a good guy. I dont see how is it a waste of tax payers money..he is using his own money….i think the person who said this does not know the meaning of the term tax payers money….

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  • khatija
    Apr 21, 2013 - 8:39AM

    If only there were more ppl like him tht presented a party, i really agreed with

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  • holy me
    Apr 21, 2013 - 8:52AM

    Agree with all previous comments. He needs to realise soon, he cannot do it alone, no man or woman is an island. You have to learn that teamwork is required and pooling of talent is necessary in this day and age. Those days of one man show are over forever for true progress to happen.

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  • liberal_pak
    Apr 21, 2013 - 9:51AM

    Great, keep it up. My vote goes to u. He is right when says as reported” [ he could not make concessions on the “party’s violent history outside of politics”. He also felt the party failed to act even when it had the opportunity. “A party that has the power to close down the city in five minutes, does not have the power to solve even the city’s sewerage and sanitation problems in the past five years.”]
    Take care, ur election office may get burnt as ET reported today that offices of PTI and JI were burnt in Karachi by the very same group.

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  • Roger
    Apr 21, 2013 - 11:32AM

    @Falcon:
    I’ve been following your comments for months, which have been lucid and well thought out – I just want to point out a few things. This young lad is the embodiment of change, of breaking the status-quo. How can you assume that anybody who doesn’t want to vote for the PTI hasn’t given them a chance? Invariably making the assertion that voting for the PTI is the only way to achieve change! If you live in NA-250/PS113, vote for him because his aspirations seem to be primarily concentrated on his constituency (as far as PS113 is concerned). With respect to NA-250, he has some encouraging ideals. You said “His desire to fix ideological issues is impressive but that can not be done in isolation” – in fact, something many people have been saying about the PTI. In my humble opinion, ideologically, he is superior to Imran. His views on secularism instantly make him well-rounded and capable of empathising with the plight of all pakistani’s. I encourage fellow readers to not dismiss him – vote for him and reduce the margin of success for the other parties – let them know that none of them are good enough.

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  • ishrat salim
    Apr 21, 2013 - 12:12PM

    I will vote for him….the truthful & honest guy..this is what we are missing with many of the politicians & the literate public also…..may Allah swt protect you & give you success in life…..Jibran.

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  • Kazim Muneer
    Apr 21, 2013 - 12:17PM

    His views and efforts are commendable. However, he also represents our confused youth who are mostly directionless. The economic hardships that Nasir has gone through for his education are understandable. His involvement in charitable works and hands-on understanding of common-person problems in day-to-day life is what makes him special and a worthy representative of the People. Being a Lawyer, he has an added advantage to be an ideal candidate for either of teh Legislative Assemblies (NA or PA). However, going independent is not what he should have opted for. It would have been fine had he decided to go for Local Government Seat under which all civic amenities and related works should be undertaken. He shuould have joint a major political party of his choice and endeavor to bring about change in mentality of our poitical parties from within. Going independent or establishing ones own party is not going to address our political problems as it would not consolidate political facade of the Country. Notwithstanding, his views and spirit is appreciable. All the best to Nasir (but need to reconsider his approach toward public representation and platform!!).

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  • Shah
    Apr 21, 2013 - 12:59PM

    @liberal_pak:
    Observation # 4209211

    Members of PPP, MQM and ANP get killed while PTI and JI offices get attacked when their members are not around. Not a bad deal for PTI and JI.

    Innocent question # 1129024

    How did the PTI and JI get the info that MQM/Karachi based organization was involved in this? Maybe their goodTaliban friends gave them this information? I am sure they would be able to make a distinction between the goodTaliban and the badTaliban right?

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  • The Sane Voice
    Apr 21, 2013 - 1:42PM

    Great ideas Jibran but my vote is for Arif Alvi from NA-250 all the way.

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  • Lobster
    Apr 21, 2013 - 2:44PM

    Good intentions, but will practically help MQM to get elected.Recommend

  • Javeria
    Apr 21, 2013 - 3:00PM

    Hey! Don’t lose hope. I am behind you Jibran!

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  • Apr 21, 2013 - 3:08PM

    @Roger:
    Thanks for the compliment. Following is my take on your response:
    1. Jibran himself said that he thinks PTI is not changing faces / policies / mindsets. 80% new faces in PTI tickets are a testament to change in faces. As far as policies are concerned, most of the PTI critics (including very brilliant intellectuals) have not even spent half an hour going through more than 10 policies published by PTI on solving the country’s problems. On top of it, I haven’t seen any other party match the level of detail PTI has included in these policies. For mindsets, see the next point.
    2. Ideological vs. structural priorities: Structures determine behavior more so than other way around. Unless you build the foundational structures that support the secular ideals, no amount of ideological work will cut it, because bread matters more to 99% of the people than the issue of separation of religion and state.
    3. Going alone is a respectable idea but viability is a function of accumulation of scarce resources. If everybody in a herd is running in his / her own direction, the crowd as a whole will get nowhere. Nobody in the world has solution to all problems, we all depend on people like us to get to our goalposts; so political platform does matter. Lastly, as I said earlier, I wish Jibran the best for being a sincere soul even though I disagree with him on few issues.

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  • Manal
    Apr 21, 2013 - 3:31PM

    I’ve met Jibran once and I can safely say that he thinks with his head, not his heart. If he is alone now, maybe others like him will join him soon. Isn’t this the revolution we have all been talking about but have been too lazy/scared to start on our own?

    Good luck Jibran!

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  • Farrukh Zain
    Apr 21, 2013 - 4:03PM

    @Falcon: Why do you think that all the good can be done only under PTI’s flag? I am impressed with Jibran’s courgae and openness. He is not aiming to win but trying to highlight the virtues of a good and caring human being. And for that my friend nobody needs PTI’s endorsement.

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  • Moiz Omar
    Apr 21, 2013 - 4:33PM

    I like what he wants to do. Only a few people in Pakistan, have the courage to talk about issues such as terrorism, hate speach in the school curriculum, rape, forced conversions etc… He is putting his life in danger by talking about such issues, so he must be sincere. We need more people like him.

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  • Monty
    Apr 21, 2013 - 4:35PM

    Best of luck Jibran; although i would be voting for Dr Alvi for NA 250

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  • Apr 21, 2013 - 5:12PM

    He has taken it as a challenge……. days are not far ahead when he will be recognised as a good politition……..!! I’v observed a great spirit in him.

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  • Apr 21, 2013 - 6:16PM

    Thank you everyone for the feedback. Most grateful to those who have shown support. As for those who disagree with my approach I would like them to at least read my manifesto and if they believe I am talking sense then at least urge your own political parties to adopt those points and stop shying away from difficult questions. Politicians sounds politically correct, Public Representative should just sound correct in the interest of the Nation and everyone living in them.

    A public representative is a representative of all races, ethnicities, creeds, castes and beliefs. His stay in office should be for the greater good and long term good.

    Manifesto Link: http://www.facebook.com/notes/mohammad-jibran-nasir-azad-umeedwar-for-na250-and-ps113/the-manifesto/119683918226490

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  • areluctantpakistani
    Apr 21, 2013 - 6:44PM

    @Tim:
    By your logic we should go for the candidate most likely to win and not for the one most close to what is right and true. Do you want to guess where that logic is likely to get us? Do you think we got in this mess by any other route?

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  • Admirer
    Apr 22, 2013 - 12:31AM

    Man, i would have voted for you if i would have been in karachi and would have shown support to you if i would have been allowed to vote as a Muslim in Pakistan (if u know what i mean). Your policies like cleaning the city, misuse of religion etc all are perfect.

    All the best.!! :)

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  • khizer
    Apr 22, 2013 - 11:57AM

    knew this guy in school, and if there is anything i can say about him with guarantee (based on how he was back then) it is his boundless determination and sincerity towards his goals that sets him apart…best of luck jibby =D !!!

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  • enu
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:39PM

    ima vote for this guy!

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  • faisal zubairi
    May 4, 2013 - 3:28PM

    i saw his program on express, guyz like him can change the country which iz in dire straits @ the moment, people needs to realize now that enuff iz enuff, quaid e azam got ths country from british cox he want muslims to live freely but after all the hark work of our forefathers we r still in the same situation as we were in 1947….
    i urge whoever lives in his constituency to plz vote for him…

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