Syedaal Khan Nasar — from student leader to upper house

Published April 10, 2024
Newly-elected Senate Chairman Yousuf Raza Gillani administers the oath to deputy chairman Syedaal Khan Nasar, on Tuesday.—Courtesy Senate Secretariat
Newly-elected Senate Chairman Yousuf Raza Gillani administers the oath to deputy chairman Syedaal Khan Nasar, on Tuesday.—Courtesy Senate Secretariat

QUETTA: PML-N Sena­tor Syedaal Khan Nasar comes from a rich political and tribal background, but in contrast with his father Rehman Khan Nasar — a diehard supporter of Pashtun anti-colonial leader Bacha Khan who spent 15 years in exile in Afghanistan — he chose to pursue his political career on the platform a right-wing party i.e. the PML-N.

Senator Nasar born on April 17, 1975, and started his political journey by joi­ning the Pashtun Stud­ent Federation (PSF), but soon he found himself aloof from the left-wing politics and joined the Muslim Stu­dent Federation — a student wing of the PML-N.

After obtaining an FSc degree from the government science college in Quetta, the senator enrolled in the Balochistan University as a private candidate. As student leader, he remained the central secretary general of the MSF from 1996 to 1999 and later became the president of the Muslim Youth Wing from 1999 to 2002.

The PML-N central leadership inducted him into the parent party and appointed him as the provincial additional general secretary of the PML-N Balochistan and also made him a member of the central working committee of the party.

Syedaal Khan Nasar was amongst those PML-N leaders who remained loyal — despite repercussions — to Nawaz Sharif during the Musharraf regime when the PML-N chief had gone into exile in Saudi Arabia and his party crumbled in his absence. Senator Nasar refused the offers to join the PML-Q, which was brought into power by General Musharraf.

He served the party as the senior vice president of PML-N Balochistan from 2013 to 2018 and also as provincial general secretary from 2018 to 2020. He also served as a political adviser to former Balochistan CM Nawab Sanaullah Zehri in the PML-N coalition government in Balochistan.

In the 2018 elections, the PML-N became almost dormant after the departure of key leaders but Syedaal Nasar was among those who remained loyal to the party.

After Nawaz Sharif returned from London, a large number of electables who had left the party came back during the visit of the PML-N supreme leader to Quetta.

These leaders were later awarded party tickets for the national and provincial assembly seats in Balochistan. When Syedaal Khan Nasar did not get the ticket, everyone was astonished.

Subsequently, the applications for the Senate election were invited and many former senators and tycoons, including Mr Nasar, applied for the ticket. However, Senator Nasar got the ticket and after the initial rejection of nomination papers, the PML-N leader made it to the upper house after an election tribunal allowed him to contest the election.

Political observers believe the elevation of a Balochistan-based senator to the deputy chairman’s post is a “major shift” in the politics of the PML-N. The party picked Senator Nasar despite the presence of tycoons and other bigwigs.

“I am very thankful to the party’s supreme leader Main Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who considered me for the slot of Deputy Chairman Senate,” Syedaal Khan told Dawn, adding that Pervaiz Rashid, Saad Rafique, and Azam Nazeer Tarar were also his supporters.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2024

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