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‘New’ faces in Sindh PA

Updated May 31, 2013

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Newly-elected Sindh provincial assembly members take oath an at the main hall of the Sindh provincial assembly building in Karachi on May 29, 2013. — Photo by AFP
Newly-elected Sindh provincial assembly members take oath an at the main hall of the Sindh provincial assembly building in Karachi on May 29, 2013. — Photo by AFP

The new provincial assembly has a number of new faces along with quite a few familiar ones. The following are the thumbnail sketches of ten ‘new’ lawmakers.

Mehtab Rashidi

Born in a Channa family of a schoolteacher in Naudero, Mehtab Channa became a household name when she appeared in Pakistan Television children’s programme in Sindhi titled ‘Roshan Tara’ in the 1970s. She later hosted several other programmes in Sindhi and Urdu and became extremely famous when she refused to follow the Gen Ziaul Haq regime’s order to wear dupatta.

She got her early education in Hyderabad. After her graduation, she joined St Mary’s College in Hyderabad. She worked at the International Relations Department of Sindh University and won Fulbright Scholarship.

She married Akbar Rashidi, a former bureaucrat and distant relative of Pir Pagaro, in the early 1980s. She joined the bureaucracy and headed several departments including education, information and culture.

She lost to a PPP candidate in the May 11 vote in Larkana on a NA seat, but got a place in the provincial assembly on the PML-F’s quota.

Hasnain Mirza

The young barrister is son of Dr Fehmida Mirza, speaker of the National Assembly, and former provincial home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza.

Hasnain Mirza has a year’s experience in the provincial assembly after he won the Badin seat vacated because of his father’s resignation, whose close association with President Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP developed a fault line on the issue of a police operation in Lyari.

However, it is first time for the young Mirza to get an opportunity to complete a term as a member of the ruling party. His mother has again won a National Assembly seat but is going to leave the speaker’s slot because of the PPP’s lacklustre performance in the NA elections.

Shafi Mohammad Jamote

The influential leader of the fishing community across the coastal areas of Sindh, Mr Jamote had been chairman of the Karachi district council and led the Fishermen’s Cooperative Society before returning to the provincial assembly.

He has been an old PPP supporter and is the father-in-law of Abdul Qadir Patel, former MNA who could not win the Keamari NA seat in the May 11 elections. Mr Jamote won a seat in Malir, which had traditionally been a PPP stronghold, as a PML-N candidate.

Ashfaq Ahmed Mangi

Elected to the provincial assembly on the MQM ticket from Azizabad, Mr Mangi belongs to a middle-class family from a small village Machhyun near Pir jo Goth in Khairpur Mirs district.

His family migrated to Karachi where he got his education. He joined the MQM only a few years ago and worked on various positions. Currently, he has been included in the newly-forged coordination committee.

For Mr Mangi, he is MPA because of the MQM’s policy to promote those who no one else promotes.

Mahesh Kumar Malani

Belonging to the family of PPP loyalists, Mr Malani is so far the only candidate from the minorities who has returned to the provincial assembly by defeating his opponent on a general seat.

His elder brother Jagdish died in a car crash near Islamabad in 1993 when the Nawaz Sharif government was being dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

Mr Malani defeated a candidate belonging to the influential Arbab group of Thar on a Mithi seat. Another Hindu candidate, Giyan Chand, is waiting for a decision of the election tribunal on a disputed constituency of Thar.

Rubina Qaimkhani

She returned to the National Assembly in the previous general elections but it is first time for her to sit in the Sindh Assembly.

It is believed that Ms Qaimkhani is a lawmaker because of her mother Perveen Bashir’s close association with the late Benazir Bhutto. Her mother is still a party worker based in Mirpurkhas.

For PPP cadres, she has little role of her own in politics, yet she is now a seasoned lawmaker who is there to replace Shazia Marri and Sassui Palijo, both of whom have missed out this time, as a member of the house.

Sharmila Farooqi

It is the first time for her to be in the Sindh Assembly, though she was a member of the previous government’s cabinet as an adviser.

She was later removed from the advisory post and made a special assistant as required under the 18th Amendment in the constitution. She is a niece of Salman Farooqi, a close aide to President Asif Ali Zardari, whose appointment as federal ombudsman was recently regularized. Her father, Usman Farooqi, was the former chairman of the Pakistan Steel Mills.

She holds an MBA and a Master’s degree in law and is engaged to Hisham Riaz, President Zardari’s special assistant and secretary to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Khurram Sherzaman

He has been in politics since March 24, 2013 and it took him just a few days to earn a ticket to win a provincial assembly seat, PS-112. He is a restaurateur owning a popular food outlet in Saddar.

The 38-year-old Sherzaman belongs to a middle-class family and had to struggle a lot to become a successful businessman. According to him, he could not get education beyond intermediate because of his struggle to achieve his goal. He joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on March 24 after being inspired by Imran Khan’s March 23 Lahore rally.

“I am here to stay and work for my people,” he says.

Naila Munir

She belongs to the MQM and has been elected on the reserved seats for women.

Ms Munir has been an active party activist for many years and is one of the five MQM women who are sitting in the house for the first time. It is the third time in a row for Heer Soho and second time for Sumeta Afzal Syed and Bilquees Mukhtar to become MPAs.

Jawaid Nagori

Mr Nagori has been a councillor from Lyari previously. He is ranked among the diehard PPP activists who have been on the frontline of many agitation and rallies. He got a party ticket when the party was obliged not to field candidates from outside.

He, along with Sania Naz, have modest family background. He lives in a rented apartment on Lyari’s Shah Waliullah Road.