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March 23, 2015

Karachi-based business tycoon becomes senator from Fata

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March 23, 2015

Karachi: Taj Muhammad Afridi, a Karachi-based business tycoon, who is the main contractor transporting NATO fuel from Karachi to bases in Afghanistan, has also become a Senator from FATA.
He is the owner of the Al-Haj group, one of the largest NATO contractors, and has been elected member of the Senate by getting seven votes in the election held on March 20. His brother, Shahjee Gul Afridi, has already been elected MNA from NA-45 Khyber Agency.
Out of 11 FATA MNAs, only seven, all elected as independent candidates, cast their votes and elected four Senators while four MNAs hailed from political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf.
Sources said that in the beginning, Taj’s family were not interested in politics and only focused on their businesses. “They financially supported Pir Noorul Haq Qadri’s family in general elections in the past, but then they decided to enter the country’s political arena. Now the two brothers have become members of the Senate and National Assembly on the basis of their wealth,” said a relative outside his office in Shirin Jinnah Colony in Karachi, while distributing sweets among the oil tanker drivers. He said that the Shinwari and Afridi tribes of Khyber Agency, many of whom drive oil tankers carrying fuel to Afghanistan and became affluent through the NATO supply industry, supported Taj’s family in winning elections from the constituency of Khyber Agency.
The Taliban militants abducted one of his brothers, Shaukat Afridi, in May 2008 from the affluent area of Clifton in Karachi and demanded some 60,000 US dollars as ransom. However, his captors murdered him in September when the police raided a house in which members of a banned militant group were holding him captive.
After the militant attacks on NATO supply terminals in the Tarnol and Sihala area in the outskirts of Islamabad in 2010, Islamabad police had registered cases against

Taj Afridi for setting up the terminals illegally and for taking insufficient security measures. Nine people were killed and around 20 others were injured in two attacks.

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