Chairman ARP
Published July 12, 2018

The electable

by Adnan Rasool

Jamshed Dasti started out in the Pakistan People’s Party, moved to the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz for a short while and then decided to go independent for his single seat from Muzaffargarh.

Over the last eight years, he has been disqualified, arrested and then had his convictions eventually overturned .

And now in 2018, he is all set to contest elections again from the same constituencies where he has painted himself as a modern-day cross between Robin Hood and Vaastav.

But in Dasti, we have probably one of the best examples of what it means to be an electable.

He is deeply rooted in Muzaffargarh and its local politics. He has used his time in government to move funds to his area, in the process letting the locals know that only one person can get their tasks done.

That is key for an electable: their personal character or their ability to legislate hardly plays a part in them getting elected.

It all comes down to whether they have built enough goodwill and loyalty among a coalition of baradaris and local groups to win an election.

Dasti’s one seat will practically have no impact on who comes to power, but whoever does come to power can rely on his one seat to be added to their tally.

Key stances

  • Dasti calls for access to justice for the common man.

“If you don’t give the common man justice, there will be more terrorism and even bloody revolution,” Dasti told the NYTimes in an interview.

  • The Awami Raj party leader is also regarded anti-feudal and an anomaly in Pakistan’s otherwise largely elite political class and he is aware how he is different from the others.

  • In Aug 2010, a month after winning a by-election that year, Dasti told a crowd: “This was not an election. This was a fight between the poor and the rich, between the public and the powerful classes.”

  • His legislative record includes opposition to a sexual harassment bill and he is also known to have threatened Mukhtar Mai to withdraw the gang-rape case against the accused men.