MUZAFFARGARH: After a gap of 25 years, two sons of the late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan have reached the assembly.

Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad Khan won NA-184 from the PPP ticket while his elder brother Nawabzada Mansoor Ahmad Khan won PP-271 as a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate.

The seasoned politician of his times, the late Nawabzada Nasrullah, and Mansoor Khan had become MNA and MPA in the 1993 elections as Pakistan Democratic Party candidates. In that tenure of the PPP, the elder Nawab was made the chairman of the Kashmir Committee while Mansoor Khan became the provincial revenue minister.

Later, the family lost elections of 1997, 2002, 2008 and 2013. After the death of Nawabzada Nasrullah in 2004, the family split into two groups. One group, led by Mansoor Khan, kept the PDP alive while Iftikhar Khan first joined the PML-Q in 2005 and later PML-N after the 2008 elections.

Before the 2013 elections, he joined the PPP while Mansoor Khan merged his PDP with the PTI and fought the 2013 election as a PTI candidate.

Iftikhar Khan was defeated by PPP’s Jamshed Dasti in 2008. In 2013, when Dasti was an independent candidate while Iftikhar was a PPP candidate, Iftikhar was defeated. In 2018, he inflicted defeat on Dasti in the NA-184 poll while Mansoor Khan also defeated Dasti’s backed candidate in PA-271.

Malik Rizwan, a resident of Khangar, the hometown of the Nawabzadas, says the lady luck smiled on the Nawab brothers when PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari held a massive election rally in Khangarh in the first week of July. “This proved a game-changer for Iftikhar Khan,” he said. “Otherwise, Dasti was quite confident about winning NA-184 and for that reasons, he was spending his energies on NA-182 where he was contesting against PPP’s Mehr Irshad Sial.”

Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s speech changed the whole scenario and Dasti, who was contesting for five seats of NA and PA from the district, was defeated on all seats. The Nawab brothers also had a silent understanding with each other, under which Iftikhar and Mansoor supported each other.

The election 2018, however, proved unlucky for former governor and PTI candidate for NA-180 Mustafa Khar who stood third in the race, despite his pleas to the electorates that it was his last election. He sought a last chance from the voters, saying that he wanted to retire from politics with honour.

Independent candidate Dr Shabbir Qureshi, son of late PP MNA Mohsin Qureshi, defeated Mr Khar. Earlier, Mr Khar had grabbed the PTI ticket for the constituency though Mr Qureshi joined the PTI in 2015 while Mr Khar entered Banigala in 2017. During the poll, Dr Qureshi was also supported by local PPP cadres, but now he is thinking about joining the PTI.

Another old politician Qayyum Jatoi lost election for PP-275 where he was an independent candidate. He also begged for votes, saying that it was his last election. Journalist Hassan Shehzad from Alipur said the people rejected Mr Jatoi for his immature statements.

In the last three years, he announced quitting the PPP three times. Just before the elections, he said at the residence of Yousuf Raza Gilani in Multan that he was still in the PPP. Later on, he fielded his son Dawood Jatoi as a PPP candidate for NA-186. Some PPP jiyalas said that whoever deceived the PPP would be rejected by the people. They give examples of Khar and Dasti.

From the PPP, two rising stars are Mehr Irshad Sial, who won NA-182, and Raza Rabbani Khar, MNA-elect from NA-183. This was their first try for the National Assembly poll. Mr Khar is the brother of former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Both Raza Khar and Hina Khar were offered PTI tickets but they chose to stand by the PPP, and now they both have become MNA as Hina Khar was on the top of the priority list of PPP reserved seat.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2018