In contrast to the climatic conditions of Swat Valley, electioneering in the district for May 30 local government polls has picked up pace over the past few weeks. In the thick of all the political activity is Advocate Abdul Jalal’s family that has pitted eight candidates for different seats.
Hopefuls from the advocate’s household comprise all four of his wives, two sons and two sisters-in-law. All in all, the clan constitutes 60 votes and the number can go up to 200 if their relatives and other acquaintances decide to throw weight behind them.
The distribution of seats amongst the kindred is quite riveting. One of Jalal’s wives is in the run for a general and a women’s seat while she is up against a sister-in-law of the legal practitioner in one of the councils. A son is eyeing victory over a youth seat while the second is contesting a labour/peasant seat. Another wife and yet another sister-in-law have been fielded on women’s reserved seats in the district council.
Jalal and his family are aligned with Awami National Party and are backing the party’s candidates in both district and town councils. Every day as the sun rises, Jalal and his sons set out to campaign for the family.
While Jalal is a lawyer, a son of his owns a general store in the town of Matta, a militant stronghold between 2006 and 2009. All of his wives and sons live in separate houses yet are united for a common cause. Talking to The Express Tribune, Jalal was positive his family will seal the deal in the May 30 polls.
“I want to serve my people; hence I have fielded candidates from my family so that we are in a better position to do so [through greater numbers],” he said.
The advocate said he wants to create awareness among women to stand up for their rights. “This is only possible when we mobilise them politically,” he believed.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2015.
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