TOBA TEK SINGH: Khalid Ahmad Kharal, the former federal information minister and an ex-member of the Pakistan People’s Party central executive committee passed away at a private hospital in Lahore early on Sunday. He was 78.
The veteran politician and ex-civil servant had been hospitalised with multiple health issues around a month ago.
He was laid to rest following funeral prayers in his ancestral graveyard in the evening.
His funeral was attended by a large number of people, including former Supreme Court judge Khalilur Rehman Ramday, Pakistan Tehrik Insaf central vice-president Chaudhry Ashfaq, PML-N MNA (from Kamalia) Chaudhry Asadur Rehman, former federal minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, Munir Ahmad Khan, ex-Punjab advocate general Mustafa Ramday, ex-federal minister Ahmad Mukhtar and Deputy Commissioner Muazzam Iqbal Sipra.
Mr Kharal served as Larkana (Sindh) commissioner during 1977 general election and hit the headlines when he was accused of kidnapping Jamaat-i-Islami’s Jan Muhammad Abbasi, the only opposition candidate in the run against late prime minister Z A Bhutto, allegedly to get him elected unopposed.
His brother late Javed Kharal was also an MPA from Kamalia in 1977 election.
He was considered close to Mr Bhutto as well as his slain daughter and prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
After imposition of martial law in 1977, Mr Kharal was imprisoned by Gen Zia regime and was forced to testify against ZAB, but he refused and went in exile to Abu Dhabi where he was appointed an adviser on economic development.
Upon his return from exile, he remained PPP’s federal council general secretary and a member of the party’s central executive committee (CEC).
He also served as federal minister twice during the later PPP governments.
He was defeated in 1988 general election from NA-94, Kamalia, but the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto appointed him federal cabinet division minister.
In 1993 polls, he won the same seat and was made federal information minister.
His son Haider Khan Kharal had contested election from NA-94 in 2008 on a PPP ticket but was defeated.
Mr Kharal developed differences with Asif Ali Zardari-led PPP. In 2013, he and his son Haider Kharal did not contest 2013 general election and supported PML-N candidate Chaudhry Asadur Rehman who was elected as MNA.
He joined Imran Khan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf only to rejoin the PPP earlier this year when Mr Zardari visited his nephew and ex-federal minister Faisal Saleh Hayat.
However, his son Haider Kharal is still working with the PTI and aspires the party ticket to contest 2018 polls.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2017