Ready, set, elect: Chacha Mushtaq, the cholaywala, dreams of revolution

Published: May 9, 2013
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After being denied tickets from PML-N and PTI, Mushtaq is contesting as an independent candidate. PHOTO: OWAIS JAFRI

After being denied tickets from PML-N and PTI, Mushtaq is contesting as an independent candidate. PHOTO: OWAIS JAFRI

MUZAFFARHGARH: For the last 50 years, he has been known as Chacha Mushtaq Cholaywala.

Today, this 70-year-old resident of Qaaim Waala Colony, whose real name is Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, is contesting a provincial assembly seat (PP-254). For all these decades, he has wandered the streets of Muzaffargarh, selling his cholas. He took up the profession after failing to land a job, despite being a graduate.

As he speaks to The Express Tribune, his frustration with the current system, the same faces, is evident.

After being denied tickets from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Mushtaq is contesting as an independent candidate.

“All political parties are in the grip of feudal dictators,” Mushtaq says vehemently. “Be it PTI, PML-N or the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), they all seek political figures that either support the status quo or support opportunism. [People like me] can do nothing, even if we are elected, because all those sitting there already have factories and murabbay, and I have nothing.”

Mushtaq adds. “Everyone knows the reality. Sixty years of capitalistic parliamentary history makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.”

According to Mushtaq, the political process is flawed, because there is simply no equality and no distribution of resources amongst political candidates.

“I go for political campaigns in this hot weather on my bicycle, while my rivals sit comfortably in land cruisers. I cannot even dream of owning such a vehicle in my life,” he remarks.

And yet, even considering all odds, his optimism and hope are inspiring.

“I will never lose hope,” he states calmly. “I have faith in Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan, where one can live and contest freely. The middle and lower classes have a chance; they just need unity and hope.”

Chacha Mushtaq’s bravado must be admired. He is set to lock horns against PML-N’s Hamad Nawaz Tipu and PTI’s Abdul Hayi Dasti, both feudal lords with powerful backing.

Armed with the symbol of the trolley, carried by daily wage labourers, and the knowledge that he won as a general councilor from union council 36 in the local bodies’ elections of 2006, he believes he can, once again, defeat the likes of established political parties.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Zee
    May 9, 2013 - 10:27AM

    More power to you Sir

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  • Sajid Iqbal
    May 9, 2013 - 11:05AM

    Good luck chacha.

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  • BILAL
    May 9, 2013 - 11:54AM

    Best of luck chacha g.

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  • Acorn Guts
    May 9, 2013 - 12:45PM

    Thought PTI manifesto favoured people like chacha jee .. well, apparently PTI likes to go with feudals too .. hypocrisy much?

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  • UMSyed
    May 9, 2013 - 12:45PM

    Chacha should have been in touch with MQM. They are the only ones to give election tickets to poor & the middle class people. Their candidates also don’t have to spend anything from their pocket & the whole campaign is sponsored by the party.

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  • Ralf
    May 9, 2013 - 12:53PM

    True representative of ‘Awaam’.

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  • Ali S
    May 9, 2013 - 1:10PM

    @UMSyed:

    But he’s in Punjab. MQM’s presence is next to nonexistent there.

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  • Jude Allen
    May 9, 2013 - 1:24PM

    Although I am all set to vote of IK I wish you best of luck chacha :) Keep up the good work and the focus.

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  • May 9, 2013 - 2:07PM

    @Acorn Guts:
    “Thought PTI manifesto favoured people like chacha jee .. well, apparently PTI likes to go with feudals too .. hypocrisy much?”

    ,
    PTI giving a party ticket to Chacha would have meant serious concern for the poor and downtrodden. And that would be tantamount to change. Isn’t it?

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  • Maliha Rao
    May 9, 2013 - 9:54PM

    Good LUck Chacha Jee!!

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  • Mayra
    May 11, 2013 - 7:46PM

    All the Best ChaCha Jee!!! All prayers with you!

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