Dressed in an off-white shalwar kameez and leather chappals, he has an unmistakably humble stance coupled with a firm, almost naive resolve when he talks. Gul Muhammad Keeriyo is PTI’s candidate from NA-213 constituency in Nawabshah (Shaheed Benazirabad district).
Gul owns just 12 acres of land. He had just Rs300,000 in savings and one jewellery set of his wife which she willingly volunteered to sell for his election campaign as she was willing to make a sacrifice for change. “When I discussed it with my wife, I told her ‘what if this jewellery set were to get robbed tomorrow? Why not use it for a good cause by free will?’ And she agreed saying ‘I am doing this for a better Pakistan for my children’.”
“It all started when I saw Khan sahab’s jalsa of October 30th 2011 on television, which he held at Minar-e-Pakistan. I was convinced that very moment that this is the solution to what this nation is going through. Khan sahib sacha aadmi hai. Aadmi ka pata chal jata hai baji (Khan is an honest man; one can tell what people are inside),” says Gul, who had gone to the local PTI office the very next day and joined as a PTI worker. With hard work and encouragement from Qazi Nadeem Siddiqui, district president of PTI of the area, Gul climbed rungs and became more active in PTI till he finally got a chance at candidature.
Gul, who proudly calls himself a sipahi (soldier) of Khan and calls Khan anmol heera (rare diamond), is inspired by Khan’s leading from the front approach. “Yes, I am a candidate against some big names. And what has to happen will happen. When my leader, the only brother of six sisters, can risk his life, why can’t I? I still have more males in the family to support me. It’s a risky business but dying for a cause is martyrdom,” he says, convinced.
Gul’s opponents include Asif Zardari’s sister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho of PPP, Inayat Ali Rind of MQM and Zahid Hussain of PML-F.
Poverty and oppression, according to Gul, have resulted in social disparity that has frustrated people to the point that it has affected the law and order situation adversely of late, even in rural areas. “Or women’s gold bangles are cut off from their hands when they travel in rickshaws. Our mobiles are snatched when we go to drop our kids to school on bikes. It is not just about economics. It is about self-respect as the people of this country, something we are losing fast.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2013.