A tycoon who defeated Shehbaz Sharif, two foodies who host EAT festival, and Pathan female factor are the sentinels of Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’.
Imran Khan’s mesmerising campaign slogan “Naya Pakistan” has launched a number of first-timers in last week’s election. A multitude of educated, urban faces have won from Khan’s party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and will now be the new members of parliament and provincial assemblies. They include a CEO, a banker, a lawyer, a dentist, a supermodel and event managers— all of them handing out the oldest promise in politics called change.
ThePrint lists a few new faces.
A supermodel called ‘Jesus’
Syed Mohammad Abbas Jafri is a U-19 cricketer-turned-supermodel, and he is now PTI’s new provincial assembly member from PS–125, Karachi Central–III. Abbas, 26, made his ramp debut in 2012. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Lux Style Award for best male model and the Hum Style award.
Abbas is known as ‘Jesus’ in Pakistan’s fashion circles for flaunting a long mane and a full beard. He made the non-Maulvi beard look cool not only on the fashion ramp but also among Pakistan’s younger generation. On the personal front, Jafri has been quite low profile and does not have the flashy lifestyle typical of fashion models. He is vocal on issues relating to the Shia community.
The face of many a brand including Bareeze, Republic, Khaadi, Ahmed Bham, Ismail Farid, Deepak Perwani and HSY, Abbas has also worked with the likes of Versace, H&M, Giordano, Levis, and Toni & Guy. He has walked the ramp for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Amsterdam and Paris Fashion Week.
Born and raised in a Karachi in a middle-class family, Jafri wants to work to reduce street crime in the city. His family is split between Dallas and Karachi, but he prefers to live in the port city of Pakistan with his mother who suffers from heart ailments. He grew up in an area known for its fierce gun battles. Now he wants to make Karachi safe for the youth.
His social work and philanthropy are what got him the ticket, but he also wants to strengthen Pakistan’s fashion industry. “I plan to make positive changes so that more international designers will come forward to bring their work to Pakistan. We also need more fashion councils. Our textile industry deserves a much-needed chance to grow. This will generate a lot of revenue for Karachi and Pakistan,” he said recently.
Contesting his first ever election, Abbas won his seat with a final tally of 30,687 votes, defeating MQM’s Abdul Haseeb who raked in 26,818 votes. Despite entering politics and winning the election, Abbas says he will continue his modeling work should any project of his interest come by.
Eating and voting
A Karachi-based high profile event managing duo—CKO Event Architecture’s Aslam Khan and Omar Omari—have won on PTI tickets and will now be in the provincial and national assembly.
Aslam and Omar are the brains behind the popular, most-awaited annual 3-day extravaganza EAT festivals in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Hundreds of thousands of visitors participate at this festival that began five years ago. The festival goes beyond just providing a platform for great food but also offers performances, live music and art. The goal is to revive urban public spaces, and invoke community spirit. The Dawn said the festival has developed a ‘cult-like following’ in Karachi.
The duo also organises several fashion weeks and corporate events as well as a number of high-profile weddings and concerts. Now a member of the national assembly of Pakistan, Aslam Khan won NA-254, Karachi Central-II will a tally of 75,702 votes. He defeated MQM-P’s Sheikh Salahuddin who came in second will 48,813 votes.
A graduate of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Omar Omari will represent PTI in Sindh. He has been elected from PS – 126, Karachi Central – IV with a tally of 30,337 votes. 25, 068 votes were polled in favour MQM-P’s Asif Ali Khan.
A rising Pathan-star
A fine arts graduate hailing from the tribal belt of Waziristan, Zartaj Gul Wazir is a firebrand woman politician who defeated one of the most powerful leaders in the patriarchal bastion of Dera Ghazi Khan area. During the campaign, she said she will fight the patriarchal political system with education. A rising star in the party, there is enough speculation now that the deputy speaker’s position may go to her.
“I’m an embodiment of huge women empowerment surge that Imran Khan has led,” she tweeted on Friday, adding that she had defeated “a powerful tribal chief”.
Thoroughly incorrect piece. Why so much bias about the great man?
I’m an embodiment of huge women empowerment surge @ImranKhanPTI has led. This has spread even into remote rural areas of Pak! BTW, I have defeated in elections a powerful tribal chief in backwaters of Pak. #NA191 pic.twitter.com/waN8gKgDZ2 — Zartaj Gul Wazir (@zartajgulwazir) July 27, 2018
She is a long-time member of the PTI, and has also volunteered at Imran Khan’s cancer hospital. Securing 79,817 votes, Zartaj defeated the area sardar with a huge margin, something unprecedented. Zartaj will now represent South Punjab in parliament.
She calls her husband Akwhwand Humayun Raza the ‘Seraki belt kay hero’, and the duo are called the ‘golden couple of PTI’. She drives herself around Waziristan, an area she feels should now come to be known for its picturesque locales and wealth of flora and fauna and not its troubled past and violence.
Known to be Imran Khan’s perennial host in the city by the sea, property development and textile tycoon Faisal Vawda has done what many thought was impossible. A Karachi-based rich boy with a love for motorcycles, Vawda defeated PML(N) Chief Shahbaz Sharif from NA-249, Karachi West–III. He is all set to represent the PTI in the national assembly.
This first-time parliamentarian is a resident of Karachi’s posh locality called Defence, but he now represents the disenfranchised locality of Baldia where he is believed to have acquired a ‘dera’ to conduct his politics from. But can he bridge the proverbial ‘pul kay is paar’ and ‘pul kay us paar divide’ in five years? And will he now stop flashing his Harley Davidson on the main Zamzama street with police escort for fear of public ire?
The author is a print and electronic media journalist based in Karachi.