Sher Afzal Marwat
Sher Afzal Marwat

ISLAMABAD: PTI lawyer Sher Afzal Khan Marwat on Wednesday emerged as a key leader of the former ruling party after he was appointed as a senior vice president, with immediate effect.

The party’s official account on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) shared the notification for Mr Marwat’s appo­intment, which was signed by PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub.

Previously, stalwarts such as Asad Umar and Chaudhry Sarwar had occupied this coveted spot. Mr Marwat now joins the ranks of PTI leaders Qasim Suri, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, and Saifullah Abro, who were appointed to the same position earlier this year.

Mr Marwat had been a member of the PTI for a long time, but he came to the limelight only after the former ruling par­ty found itself in crisis following the events of May 9, which for­c­­ed party’s key leadership to ei­­ther to part ways with Mr Khan, or go underground to avo­id the heat. This provided an opportunity for lower-tier leaders of the party to rise within the ranks and take up key positions.

He also became close to Imran Khan after representing the PTI chairman in most of the cases against him.

Mr Marwat represented the PTI chief in the Toshakhana case, where the court convicted the former premier for three years. His proximity to the PTI chairman only grew when he launched a tirade against trial court judge Humayun Dilawar during the proceedings of the Toshakhana trial, and he was subsequently inducted into the PTI core committee.

The lawyer courted controversy in September; first by taking on a fellow member of Mr Khan’s legal team, and then by getting into a brawl with a PML-N senator during the recording of a TV talk show.

In a tirade on X (formerly Twitter), Mr Marwat levelled several allegations against his colleague Shoaib Shaheen, calling him the “sole traitor” within the PTI’s legal team.

He had accused “powerful forces” within the PTI of supporting Shaheen, asking why he was appearing on electronic media when most PTI leaders had been blacklisted.

But the PTI had officially dis­­­owned his claims, saying that Marwat’s statement was his pe­­rsonal opinion, and had no connection with the PTI’s stance.

Days later, during a taping of anchorperson Javed Chaudhry’s show, Mr Marwat got into an altercation with PML-N Senator Afnanullah Khan after hot words were exchanged between the two.

A video of the two going at it went viral on social media, and Senator Afnan followed it up with an FIR against the PTI lawyer.

Then, in October, a case was registered against Sher Afzal Marwat in Dera Ismail Khan, on allegations of instigating the public against state institutions through social media. The case revolved around a video Mr Marwat posted to his YouTube channel, where he purportedly tried to incite the public against state institutions to create chaos.

Before his political career, Mr Marwat served as a judge in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Later, he entered the civil administration and served as director general of the Federal Govern­ment Employees Housing Au­­t­hority (FGEHA) which was for­merly known as the Federal Govern­ment Employees Hou­sing Foun­dation (FGEHF). He has also wor­­­ked for some KP-based newspapers.

‘Indebted to Imran’

When contacted by Dawn, Sher Afzal Marwat vowed to rejuvenate the party before the general elections by motivating party workers through conventions across the country. Mr Marwat said his new responsibilities would motivate him to work harder. “I am indebted to PTI Chairman Imran Khan for his trust in me,” he said.

The PTI’s senior vice president said he had recently organised two successful conventions in Charsadda when the party was facing stern action from police across the country and could not get permission to hold any public meeting or convention in any part of the country.

“I am fighting legal battles in various courts to get permission for holding PTI conventions and getting success in these cases. Obstacles will soon be removed,” he hoped. Mr Marwat revealed that he would organise PTI conventions in Peshawar and Mardan on Nov 24 and Upper Dir and Karak on Nov 25 and 26, res­pectively. “Besides this, I am also dealing with PTI volunteers who wanted to do something for the party,” he said.

The PTI leader said he was also looking after the cases of overseas PTI workers and supporters. “But my main duty is to assist the secretary general of the party (Omar Ayub),” he added.

According to another notification, former Punjab MPA Seemabia Tahir was appointed the PTI president for north Punjab. In a statement, she expressed gratitude for the appointment, saying: “With the help of Allah and the cooperation of the organisational leaders, I will try my best to fulfill the responsibility entrusted to me by the leaders and fulfill their trust.”

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2023

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