HARIPUR: Former MNA Sardar Muhammad Mushtaq Khan has rejoined Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz on Saturday after three years. Confirming the development, Mushtaq told The Express Tribune on Saturday that he had once again reposed confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The former MNA said he had met Nawaz in Islamabad and cleared the air of mistrust. PML-N Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa President Pir Sabir Shah, National Deputy Speaker Assembly Murtaza Javed Abbasi and MNA Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar were also present on the occasion.
“The PM welcomed me with open arms,” he said. “He has urged me to strengthen the party’s position to ensure it can regain the NA-19, Haripur seat.”
Past and present
According to insiders, Mushtaq might have taken the decision after noticing that his political rivals are missing in action within the party.
Mushtaq had won the 2008 general elections overturning the Ayub Khan scion, Omar Ayub – the then state minister in the Shaukat Aziz cabinet – and Dr Raja Amir Zaman, who is battling the NA-19 showdown with Omar’s replacement candidate, Babar Nawaz Khan.
However, in 2012, he voiced displeasure over the arrival of his arch-rival Omar and his father, former foreign minister Gohar Ayub, into the party’s folds and decided to part ways. In a public meeting addressed by former PM Raja Pervez Ashraf in Kotnajibullah in December 2012, Mushtaq announced his decision to join Pakistan Peoples Party. His younger brother, now Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf district council member, Sardar Haroon Khan also followed in his footsteps.
Things sailed smooth for a few years and Mushtaq was able to get a number of development projects approved for the constituency.
However in 2013, he lost the seat to Zaman who was now contesting the seat on a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ticket. The result brought Mushtaq’s political career to a screeching halt.
According to insiders, Saudi Arabia-based businessman Chaudhary Boota and Safdar palpably helped him strike a deal with the Sharifs. A relative of former chief election commissioner and Federal Shariat Court chief justice Sardar Fakhre Alam Khan, Mushtaq hails from the Gujjar clan and the region’s community-based politics is what helped him regain his lost position within the PML-N circles. The party is now counting on him to help neutralise the threat it faces in shape of PTI’s Zaman in NA-19.
Pages of history
The NA berth is one of the most important constituencies of Hazara division. Awans, Syeds, Pathans, Tanolis, Gujjars, Tareens, Jadoons, Mughals and Mishwanis are the region’s dominant tribes.
The seat was taken by Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s eldest son and Pakistan National Alliance candidate Gohar back in 1977. However, he could not make it to the Lower House since General Ziaul Haq imposed martial law.
He regained the seat in 1985 and defeated Raja Sikandar Zaman Khan. Gohar joined Pakistan Muslim League in 1990, won the seat for the third time and edged out Omar Asghar Khan. He remained affiliated with the party until the Quaid faction was carved out of the Nawaz-led party in General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s regime. He passed the reins to his son Omar, who won the seat in 2002. Benefitting from the family vote bank, he managed to defeat Sabir.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2015.