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CANDIDATE PROFILE: Challenging political biggies on behalf of ‘middle class’

Updated July 03, 2018

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IN this file photo, Jawad Ahmed heading to the sessions court to submit his nomination 
papers last month. The singer will be contesting election against Shahbaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
—M. Arif / White Star
IN this file photo, Jawad Ahmed heading to the sessions court to submit his nomination papers last month. The singer will be contesting election against Shahbaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. —M. Arif / White Star

Without participatory democracy and creating an environment where a middle-class person can contest the election, Pakistan will continue to suffer.

These are the views of musician and pop singer Jawad Ahmad who is challenging the country’s three biggest parties and contesting the July 25 elections against PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, PTI chief Imran Khan and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Barabri Party Pakistan (BPP), formed by the 47-year-old singer last year, has fielded a total of 14 candidates — most of them against political stalwarts and old players of election politics.

The party has fielded candidates against Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry and Raja Riaz, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Saad Rafique and PML-N dissident Zaeem Qadri.

Mr Ahmad believes that all these parties represent “elite class” and want to maintain the status quo in the country. He considers all the current political leaders as “same”, alleging “they are not with the people”.

Jawad Ahmad is not the first one from the showbiz world who to enter politics. Another renowned singer Abrarul Haq is also contesting the election on a PTI ticket form Narowal. Mr Haq had lost to PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal in Narowal in the 2013 general elections.

In the past, a number of TV and film artists tried their luck in the field of politics, but most of them remained unsuccessful. However, Jawad Ahmad is confident that the people will vote for him in his “struggle against the prevailing unjust system”.

“Nothing will change in Pakistan till the time people from middle and working class do not contest elections and enter parliament,” muses Mr Ahmad, who is well-known for his song Mein Tenu Samjhawan Ki (How can I explain it to you).

Rs29.7m is the total value of Jawwad Ahmed’s assets, according to the ‘Statement of Assets and Liabilities’ submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Talking to Dawn, the singer-turned-politician said that his party had fielded a doctor, an engineer, lawyers, a trade unionist, an IT specialist and even a housewife in the upcoming polls. He said that they wanted to field a brick-kiln worker against former defence minister Khurram Dastagir Khan in Gujranwala, but could not do so due to some technical issues in his nomination papers.

“That is the ball game we all have to change,” replied Mr Ahmad when asked about the resources needed for contesting the elections. He claimed that they were spending their own money which they had earned honestly and through hard work.

According to the “Statement of Assets and Liabilities” submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the value of his total assets is Rs29.77 million, which include a Toyota Revo car worth Rs4.22m and Rs8.2m cash in hand. Besides this, he has mentioned another car Toyota Altis worth Rs2m in the name of his wife. According to the document, his wife also owns a one kanal plot worth Rs14.50m in Phase 6 of DHA, Lahore.

“Pakistan is already in shambles. The rupee has been devalued. We have been placed in the grey list of FATF,” he said while blaming the wrong policies of past rulers for it.

Mr Ahmad, who has done B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering, was of the opinion that politics should be aimed at providing relief to the working and middle class and for fulfilling their aspirations.

“We need to say no to politics of electables, feudals, political pirs, land and sugar mafias,” he said, adding that it should be clear to the middle class people now that these mafias would never do legislation for them.

Mr Ahmad said his party has provided a political forum to the working class, poor and youth of the country which consist of 90 per cent of the country, claiming that soon a movement will start in the country for the rights of these deprived sections of society.

“I know no rich person will join us as we will not be talking about their interests,” he said, and then clarified: “We do not say that all rich people are bad. But the problem is that a feudal will never make any law which will benefit his subjects. Similarly, an industrialist will never do legislation for the betterment of the labour class,” he went on saying.

The BPP candidates will contest the election under the symbol of “gate” which, the party has obtained by choice and described it the “Gate to Prosperity”.

Mr Ahmad claimed that all these three big parties had offered him ticket before the 2013 general elections, but he refused. He further claimed that former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal of the PML-N and PPP’s Zulfiqar Gondal had approached him with the offer of joining their parties.

Mr Ahmad is contesting against PTI chief Imran Khan and former Railways ministers Khwaja Saad Rafique in NA-131 Lahore, against PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif in NA-132 Lahore and against PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in the party’s stronghold of Lyari (NA-246) in Karachi. He disclosed that in the next few days, he would launch his election song Na Tera Na Mera Hai, Sab Kuch Khuda Ka Hai.

“I am contesting against Bilawal Zardari in NA-246, Lyari, Karachi. People are afraid to even provide an office to a political party without the permission of their bosses having connections with the PPP. Bilawal Zardari is going to contest elections using fear, power and money against me,” Mr Ahmad alleges in his recent Tweet.

“Look at Imran Khan, the champion of anti-corruption, violating rules and code of conduct of Election Commission by indulging in all sorts of pre-poll rigging. I’m contesting against him in NA-131 where they’re illegally advertising their campaign using oversized flexes all over Defence,” Mr Ahmad says in another Tweet as part of his election campaign.

And in his latest statement on social media, Mr Ahmad lashes out at the PTI chief for his recent visits to shrines.

“Imran Khan has totally lost it. He has intellectually degenerated and morally deteriorated in the last few years so rapidly that now I doubt that he has any chance of a comeback. Just to become PM, he’s now ready to go to any length of lying, deceit, hypocrisy and religious exploitation,” writes Mr Ahmad.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2018