DERA ISMAIL KHAN:
With Maulana Asad Mehmood, son of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, being announced as the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) candidate for NA-25 in the by-election, it seems the party is following the mould of family politics like other mainstream political groups in Pakistan.
NA-25 was vacated by Fazl, who won the seat by securing 67,837 votes. Fazl vacated the seat after he chose to take oath from NA-24, DI Khan. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate Engineer Dawar Khan Kundi was runner-up on NA-25 with 47, 175 votes.
As far as the by-polls are concerned, NA-25 is subject to a seat adjustment deal between the JUI-F and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The latter’s candidate, Faisal Karim Kundi, is not contesting the election and whoever secures his 46, 086-strong vote bank will win the seat.
It is expected, however, that the PPP leader’s vote bank will go to PTI candidate Dawar Kundi.
Sheikh Rehmat, a commentator on politics of the area, maintained the scenario had changed for the NA-25 seat. “Asad Mehmood will face strong competition even though the constituency has been a JUI-F stronghold in the past,” he said. “(The PPP’s) Faisal Karim Kundi and Dawar Kundi both belong to the same family, and the Kundi tribe and those sympathetic to them will not divide their vote.”
Another significant development regarding NA-25 is that Gullana Bibi, the only woman candidate, is also running for polls. Bibi’s son, Khanadar, said his mother would contest on a Pakistan Awami League ticket in place of MNA Shaikh Rashid.
Even though Asad Mehmod will face a tough competition, the more pertinent point is that Maulana Mufti Mehmood’s (founder of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam) family will remain a force to be reckoned with in DI Khan’s local politics. This means the JUI-F, quite like the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party, is also assimilating itself into the practice of dynastic politics.
The religious-politico party’s candidate has already begun campaigning for the seat and Asad Mehmood stands as the new face of politics as far as the JUI-F is concerned.
Talking to a political gathering in Ima Khel, Tank, he not only assured locals of a solution to end load-shedding, but also claimed he would address national and international problems. “Pakistan’s rulers live in luxury and are oblivious to the public’s miseries,” he asserted. He alleged the country’s rulers had framed politics in a way that gave ‘foreign masters’ the upper hand. Mehmood also added an Islamic system of governance was the only solution to socio-economic instability.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2013.