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Jun 12, 2013
Syed Kosar Naqvi | http://www.thenews.com.pk
ABBOTTABAD: Member National Assembly (MNA) from Mansehra district Capt (R) Mohammad Safdar, who happens to be the son-in-law of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has emerged as the front-rank leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and is likely to be the next party chief in the province.
The PML-N gave the provincial president’s position to a number of political heavyweights from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Pir Sabir Shah and Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan, but they failed to make a mark in the recent elections and even lost their own assembly seats.
Differences in the ranks of the PML-N are one of the causes for failure of the party to make a mark by losing many seats in the province. Exchange of hot words was reported in 2012 between Capt (R) Safdar and Sardar Mehtab over party affairs, which led to temporary suspension of basic party membership of the former.
Making a comeback from this debacle, Safdar has regained the lost ground by winning not only his National Assembly seat but also helping the PML-N to make a clean sweep in Mansehra.
In the 2013 election, the PML-N lost from its strongholds in Haripur and Abbottabad districts with the exception of the newly inducted Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Murtaza Javed Abbasi and a couple of provincial assembly seats.
Omer Ayub Khan and Pir Sabir Shah were unable to win their seats. Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan lost his National Assembly seat but managed to retain his provincial assembly seat, PK-45 Abbottabad.
Political analysts feel that time is ripe for a new leadership to assume control of the party affairs in the province. Amir Muqam also lost the election from Swat but even he was rewarded with the post of advisor in the federal government.
The party won two national and four provincial assembly seats in Mansehra. Safdar is considered to be the prime mover and instrumental in creating a winning situation in the district by constituting a winning team including Sardar Mohammad Yousaf, who has been made federal minister for religious affairs.
Safdar, president of the PML-N Youth Wing, launched his political career by winning election as MNA from NA-52, Rawalpindi in 2008. However, he also focused attention on his native Mansehra in preparation for the 2013 polls.
Subsequently, Safdar concentrated all his energies on NA-21 Mansehra-cum-Torghar constituency. Despite the party’s internal rifts and conspiracies, he managed to get over 91,000 votes to defeat Laiq Mohammad Khan. Sardar Yousaf won the NA-20 seat by defeating Azam Swati.
Talking to The News, Safdar remained reticent about the party’s internal affairs by remarking that he would abide by the directions of the party leadership and shoulder whatever responsibilities entrusted to him by the higher command.
Safdar said he was determined to bring his area on a par with the developed areas of the country. Important innovative measures including green energy in the shape of decentralised micro hydel projects and energy domes to remediate the liquid waste issue are also his priorities. “Clean drinking water, household nutritional food security, employment generation and micro-enterprise will receive priority in his development efforts,” he added.