Big names bow out of Pakistan’s 2024 election race
ISLAMABAD: More than 70 former members of the National Assembly have decided not to run in the next general election scheduled for February 2024. Among them are some of the most prominent and influential politicians in Pakistan, including two former prime ministers.
The Hum Investigation Team (HIT) contacted some of the ex-lawmakers to find out the reasons behind their withdrawal from the electoral race. Many of them expressed dissatisfaction with the current political situation and the lack of meaningful reforms.
Mohsin Khan Leghari, a former PTI MNA, said he was sad about the ongoing “political shenanigans” in the country and did not file his nomination papers. Khusro Bakhtiar, another ex-PTI MNA, also opted out of the contest.
Asfandyar Wali Khan, the president of ANP and a veteran politician, is not contesting the elections due to health issues. His son will replace him as the candidate from his home constituency, according to ANP spokesperson Samar Bilour.
Ghaus Bux Mehar, a former PPP MNA who had won five times in the past, said he wanted to leave politics and give a chance to the younger generation. His son will run for his seat from Shikarpur.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, a former prime minister and the leader of PML-Q, is also not participating in the elections because of illness. A family member confirmed that he did not submit his papers.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, another ex-premier and a senior leader of PML-N, said he was not happy with the existing political and electoral systems and did not see any hope for change. He said he wanted a radical overhaul of the governance and election mechanisms in the country.
Around 98 per cent of the ex-MPs did not submit their nomination papers by the deadline of December 22, 2023, according to a research by Hum Investigation Team. Among them, dozens of women were not nominated by their parties for the reserved seats. The research also showed that four former members of the previous assembly had died.
Some prominent politicians who are not in the race include Miftah Ismail, the former finance minister, Javed Hashmi, the veteran politician, Jamal Laghari, the former state minister, Rai Mujtaba Kharal, the former MNA from Bahawalpur, Hamid Nasir Chatta, the former speaker of the National Assembly and Imran Ismail, the former governor of Sindh.
Other ex-MPs who are not participating in the elections are Sumera Malik, Mian Shafiq, Asad Umar, Ali Zaidi, Khusro Bakhtiar, Amjad Niazi, Sadaqat Abbasi, Nusrat Sahar and Ali Nawaz Awan.
The list also includes Aamir Bakhsh Bhutto, Khurram Shahzad Awan, Faiz Kemuka, Mansoor Hayat, Chaudhry Jafar Iqbal and Haider Thand.
The former women MPs who are out of the fray are Maiza Hameed, Mehnaz Aziz, Ishrat Ashraf, Manza Hassan, Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Shireen Mazari, Andaleeb Abbas, Rida Khan, Shehzadi Umarzadi Tiwana, Ghazala Saifee, Aamra Khan, Asma Qadeer, Seemi Bukhari, Sobia Kamal and Malaika Bukhari.