The Pakistan Peoples Party has rejected the application of Khawaja Yawar Naseer for a Senate ticket. The news came as a big shock because Khawaja Yawar Naseer has been the voice and face of the PPP from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province for the last 40 years. It is a bad decision and black PR for the PPP.
A rich businessman and educationist, Kawaja Yawar is also an honest and clean man from a very prominent family of Peshawar. He is a real nephew of Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel of the ANP. However, Khawaja and his brothers are founder members of the PPP in the KP province. They have served the party selflessly and in the past 44 years have never asked for any favor or have benefitted, in any form, during the Party rule.
Khawaja Waseem and Khawaja Arif the elder brothers of Khawaja Yawar are among the associates of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Khawaja Waseem, a founder member of the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy, was a leading trade unionist in the early 1970s and had founded the Peoples Labour Union throughout the province. Khawaja Arif had worked with Bhutto. Later he moved to the United States where he is a successful and influential businessman in Manhattan New York.
The Khawaja brothers were sent to jail during the Zia-ul-Haq military rule; their business suffered losses due to their affiliation with the PPP. They hosted PPP leadership at their houses in Islamabad and Defense Colony Peshawar in the dark days of Zia-ul-Haq when the business community was afraid to be associated with the PPP in any way.
Khawaja brothers are shy of publicity but for years they have been quietly supporting many PPP workers and their families financially. They have built an eye hospital in Peshawar where the poor are treated for free. They have been funding several charities. They have financed party activities and events and have sponsored the election campaigns of many party candidates.
Khawaja Yawar did not want to apply for the Senate ticket because he is a selfless person and likes to stay in the background but I persuaded him to apply for the party ticket because we thought that as a leading businessman, educationist and well-know social worker, Khawaja Yawar would be a perfect match for Ilyas Ahmed Bilour of ANP, who has been using the platform of Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote his political interests. The Bilour family has harmed the PPP in the KP province, particularly in Peshawar.
As a Senator Khawaja Yawar could play a key role cultivating contacts in the business community. He has excellent relations in trade and industry circles of a province where trade and industry sector needs genuine leaders. Khawaja Yawar owns a very successful chain of schools where children from poor families get preference and often receive free education. He is member of several charities and his election as a Senator would definitely improve the party’s image and standing in the KP where the party has lost ground due to poor leadership and mismanagement of some ministers and party officials.
The decision to award a Senate ticket to Farhatullah Babar is the right one. Two other PPP ticket holders from KP are Ahmad Hasan Khan and Shamroz Khan. Ahmad Hasan is from Dir and had left the party but if he has returned he could be a winning candidate from Dir for a provincial or national assembly seat. He should have been asked to contest in the general elections. I am not sure but I think, Shamroz Khan is an old veteran from Hazara. Since the PPP can’t win in general elections from Hazara, it is appropriate to give Hazara division representation in the Senate. However, awarding a party ticket to a person who is sister of a powerful PPP KP leader and that, too, at the cost of someone like Khawaja Yawar is wrong.
In the last Senate elections the PPP had awarded a Senate ticket to an unknown young man because he was the son-in-law of Pervaz Khattak. Mr. Khattack has now defected to the PTI and his Senator son-in-law is engaged in dubious business deals in Islamabad.
Z.A. Bhutto searched for talent and followed merit but it seems that the PPP now shuns talent and ignores good workers. There are hundreds and thousands of talented men and women, who are bright, open minded and die-hard PPP supporters but they feel neglected. Now Khawaja Yawar is one of those dishearted PPP workers.